At 11 am everything stops for a cup of chai and a mandazi, chapatti or samosa (or all three…). Somehow, when you’re in need of the sweet, warm brew it is just there. The flask of chai miraculously appears along with the exact number of cups needed for the number of people in the office that day.
It’s easy to forget that behind the flask and cups are 3 wonderful ladies who put a lot of effort into their work. It’s no easy task preparing and delivering chai to 70+ people in 20 different offices on 3 floors. When I’ve the time, I like to pop by the kitchen and give them a hand. We have such giggles. These ladies make me smile so much. We chat about England and how wonderful Kenya is, inbetween discussions over finding me a suitable Kenyan husband and singing ‘This is the chai’ to the tune of ‘This is the day that the Lord has made’. Each flask of chai is filled with the upmost love and care. Then each flask is wiped very carefully and is delievered to its specific office. And there is real order and routine to their work. I’m yet to figure out what the difference is between delivering a red flask to, for instance, the economic empowerment office, rather than the blue one. But these ladies take real pride in their work and it brightens up my day when I pass by the kitchen and see their smiles.
Some of you will remember Peter Mweke from my previous blog post (if not, scroll down and read his story – it’s certainly some story!). Last week he took me to his recording studio where he’s in the process of recording his second song. It was fun to see round the studio, and I had a little giggle at an artist there who certainly thought quite a lot of himself and was giving me the whole baby/sweetheart talk. It was only afterwards that I realised what a big celebrity he is in Kenya – its funny when to me he was just a normal, although maybe slightly big-headed, person.
Mweke has just recorded the beats/instrumental part to his next song and will be recording his voice later today. He’s been in my office a lot today practising singing/rapping to the c.d. he has of the instrumental part. He’s very keen to have my voice on the record…but I’m too sure the world is ready for my gangster rapping yet…!!
Last weekend Susan (my Dutch housemate) and I set off to join our friend Bochi and his girlfriend Mette in Naivasha for the night. We stayed in a small but beautiful hut at a campsite that backs onto the lake. It was such a lovely weekend and just what I needed. We just lounged and relaxed. On the Saturday afternoon Bochi, Mette and I took a boat ride out onto the lake where we saw hippos (a little too close up for my liking…!!) and giraffe. In the evening we had the most wonderful food and listened to an American jazz band playing live. It was wonderful.
I love Nairobi but it’s only when I escape to the country that I realise how much I miss the quiet, the fresh air and most of all the s-p-a-c-e. Nairobi is a mash of noise, colour, pollution and crowds which makes it a fun city to be in but I loved being free to run in the grass, get out into the nature and just move!
I’m happy to be back in Nairobi now though, and feel refreshed for the week ahead!
Did you know it’s possible to fit 23 adults into a 14 seater matatu?
On the way home from Naivasha we (myself, my housemate Susan, Bochi and his girlfriend Mette) were waiting to hail a matatu at the side of the road. It was a Sunday morning and there are not so many at that time so we had to wait for a while. Finally one came. I leapt up to hail it down. It stopped. And as soon as the door open people tumbled out. There’s no room we exclaimed! But the matatu conductor was adamant there was – there’s always room for one more. No, we refused. We’d just have to wait for the next. The matatu man then started calling people out of the matatu in Swahili. Now, I felt a bit bad that he was making people get out for us, but equally, we’d been waiting a while and didn’t know when the next car would come. So we got in and sat down. Then, in got all the people who the conductor had told to get out! We started to protest, but our cries were not heard among the noise of people cramming into the vehicle. The door wouldn’t close with so many people in, and three people were squatting, their bums hanging out of the door. We drove off, Nelly’s Dilemma song blaring. I laughed. Certainly an experience to remember! I counted, and from what I could see there were 23 grown adults squeezed into an old, rickety matatu.
The answer to my question: Yes, it is possible! And I survived the ride!
Proposal at the market
My father will be pleased to know I have plenty of suitors chasing me asking for my hand in marriage. I’m sure he can get quite a few goats and maybe even some cows for me. My most recent marriage proposal was from a man selling earrings at the maasi market in town. He was so generous that even offered to, in his words, ‘cancel’ his ten girlfriends for me. A tempting offer, I’m sure you’ll agree, but one, after much deliberation, I decided to turn down.