I’m in Nairobi, back from Lodwar and the Lake Turkana region. Our trip was filled with all sorts of cramped transportation and intense, constant bargaining, so in a way it was a nice final Kenyan trip, because it was nice to see how much better we can handle all of it than when we first arrived, but also it made us feel very, very ready to not have to deal with it anymore.
We spent a few nights at a lodge from the 70s that appears to have been abandoned long ago. If you can get past the lack of any toilet paper there and in the surrounding village, and if you put aside any fear of the long snake that sleeps in the beds, it’s really quite nice. Here’s a view from it, looking out at Lake Turkana, where the locals spend all day fishing, bathing, and singing songs. This particular village felt so idyllic that it really challenged my understanding of poverty. Unlike everywhere else I’ve seen here, people here really seemed quite content. Maybe it’s just that I wasn’t there long enough, but it left a very different first impression on me. I think it was the singing that did it.
In the middle of Lake Turkana is an island, and on the at island are three smaller lakes, if you can believe it. Here’s “Flamingo Lake,” taken from one of the higher points of our pretty strenuous hike around. If you look closely there are about five flamingos in the bottom left corner.
Here we are in front of “Crocodile Lake.” I saw two crocodiles, but was assured that there were thousands hiding in there. We did see a tracks of a crocodile that ran across the hiking path in one spot.
And it’s a little out of order, but here’s a picture from the “blow out party” I mentioned previously. There was a lot of this—sitting around with the Indian Ocean in view, doing nothing in particular.
Today was a big day in Kenyan politics—a bunch of high-level politicians got subpoenaed by the International Criminal Court—so I was a little worried that there might be protests and violence, and when they said the announcement would come in the next hour, I skedaddled from the office where I was saying goodbye to my colleague from the Nairobi Project, since it’s about a block from parliament and it seemed best to head to the suburbs. So far things have been calm, though.
Tomorrow I’ll be doing all my final paperwork, closing my last bank account here, and taking my final Language Proficiency Exam. I’ll be doing my best not to use any American Sign Language on accident, but we’ll see how it goes. In the evening I’ll be attending the Ambassador’s Christmas party, and then the following day, I’m stepping onto a plane that will take me out of here. For the past to years, the farthest I’ve gotten from Kenya has been Rwanda, so I’m bracing myself for the culture shock that everyone tells me I should expect. Personally it’s hard for me to imagine having difficulty adjusting to a world that has an abundance of Dr. Pepper, but there may be some things I’m overlooking.