expanding or exploding
We had our first day off since July 1st and spent the morning hiking with some other families up the hills near the campus we are staying. We got good and dirty (we are quickly getting used to be covered in dust every day) and the kids got to climb on some big rocks and see tons of cows, goats, and chickens along the way so they were stoked. Later in the day we walked to town center with another family and their two boys. They are living in Nairobi serving some refugees that have relocated there. Anni totally digs their 2 boys Esa and Jonas (4 and 2) so we thought it would be a blast to hit the town with them. After getting some groceries we went to T Tot, a place famous for their beef samosas. They were excellent, even to me a non-meat lover. Maybe we were also thankful for some flavor and spice after the rather bland carbs we have been eating for the past 2 weeks. Our snacks were perfectly paired with cold cokes in beat up glass bottles. Somehow cokes always taste better after a long hike and served in glass bottles. We met up with a local friend from campus named David and he helped us navigate a “short cut”. It is so helpful to have local friends as they can speak the language and help us avoid “Mzunga price” (white price). He was great and we treated him to some dinner and tea before he had to catch a Matatu to Nairobi. We decided neither us or our kiddos would survive the 30 minute (or double with kids) walk home after walking all the way there and around town so we wanted to take a Tuk-Tuk home. A Tuk- Tuk is an auto rickshaw of very questionable stability and even more sketchy safety. I can honestly say I have not laughed that hard is a long time. Just trying to negotiate the price was an adventure, as soon as we hit the stand where the Tuk-Tuks pick you up we were swarmed. White skin equates money and the local drivers were fighting over us, this makes you feel so uncomfortable but it is part of the legacy of colonialism, imperialism, and tourism that we will deal with everyday we are here. You could tell this took David by surprise as he is used to being treated like everyone else. It was so overwhelming as people, cars, Tuk-Tuks, and bikes zoomed by us. I kept thinking what in the world was Anni’s little brain thinking as she takes all this in? She seemed to be watching the scene with wide eyes clinging tightly to me as she took it in. A few weeks ago she was strolling down a Chicago street in her Zooper stroller on our way to Starbucks and now she is in my arms waiting at a crowded and chaotic Tuk-Tuk stand in Kenya. I thought that by bringing Annikah to live in Africa we would be expanding her world view but at that moment it occurred to me her world view is being exploded. Almost everything she knew has changed and yet she is thriving and smiling and growing. She knows that we are with her and she is safe that she is here to learn. Kids just do that, they learn, they cannot help it and Annikah has shown us that her spirit is eager to know more about this place and these people. I can learn a lot from her. Once we agreed on a price (150 shillings= about $2.20) we all piled into a Tuk-Tuk; 4 adults and 3 kids into the tiny cab. Jason had to share the seat up front with the driver. Our driver took off so fast that he hit another Tuk-Tuk as we drove off. The rest of the ride was equally insane as we bumped along (see video). Anni, Esa, and Jonas loved the ride and were laughing the whole time as we headed back to campus. Anni got some air of a few of the bigger bumps and although she was smiling and laughing she also had a vice grip on my arms that were tightly around her. The situation was hilarious and strange and scary all at once but we arrived safely about 10 minutes later. The kids clapped and said “Asante” to the driver and we exited our first Tuk-Tuk ride.