Since my last post was very dark, due to the terrorist attack on the Westlands Mall here in Nairobi, I thought that I should make this blog post a little brighter. Last Monday night I returned to Nairobi after spending a little over a week back home in the US visiting my family who I have not seen for 4 months. So with “bribery gifts” safely stowed in my luggage I began my 24 hour trip back home. All my flights were delayed which added 6 additional hours to my trip. Naturally everyone was glad to see me, even the dog. By 10 PM that evening I had been awake for almost 48 hours since it is almost impossible to sleep in economy class on a plane. The “Sand Man” was telling me it was time to go to bed.
The next morning I got up and went into the kitchen, and there on the refrigerator door was the infamous “Honey Do” list (Honey do this…Honey do that). When you are away for 4 months these things do add up. My son took care of many things for the first 2 months while I was away, but he had to leave for his 2nd year of university studies at the end of August. I was pleasantly surprised to see the list was not as bad as I feared that it could have been. I was expecting to come home and find a large amount of firewood in our driveway that needed to be put away and stacked for the winter, but 2 weeks before I came home, my son and my daughters’ boyfriend took care of this for me. My son, who came home for the weekend to see me said that I “owed him” big time. I guess that I do, since this was a very big job.
My trip home was not all work, and I did get to visit some family and friends while I was home. I even got the opportunity to watch an American Football game. We don’t get to see them over here in Kenya. Our choices here are Rugby, Cricket, and Soccer. Although some of the Barclays Premiere League matches sometimes looked like an American Football game. For those of you reading this who are from the UK, I am not putting down the Premiere League, you just have great rivalries between your different football clubs. We have similar rivalries in the US with some of our professional teams. I also managed to go to the Navy Yard one day to get my annual flu shot and to visit some of the PULSE alumni.
The week went by too fast, but I was able to cross off almost all of the items that were on the “Honey Do” list. So with new provisions packed in my suitcase I began my trip back to Nairobi. Some of these provisions were bags of chocolate and some cookies that my wife made for my team. It seems that you cannot get some really good chocolate in Kenya, and I also work with a bunch of “choco-holics”. Needless to say, my co-workers were very happy that I brought back these items.
I did not want to subject myself to a 30 hour trip back to Nairobi so I spent the weekend in Amsterdam visiting one of my former exchange students. I had not seen her for 3 ½ years so I took advantage of having to change planes in Amsterdam anyway to break up my trip. It was a good to see her, her boyfriend, one of her sisters, and her parents. Amsterdam is a neat city, and if you are into art, the Rijksmuseum just reopened in June after being closed for almost 10 years for much needed renovations. If you do go to this museum, plan on spending the whole day there. There is so much to see.
Now it is time to get back to finishing up the last 2 months of my PULSE assignment. The time has gone by quickly, and I have learned so much and have contributed a lot to my NGO. I’m sure that these last 2 months will be beneficial to both of us.