Thursday, July 14, 2011
#14 More Nairobi Adventures
(Note: Craig Noke, who is tireless in handling sending out this blog, has posted all my missives on a blog site http://kenyahelpus.wordpress.com/ In case you’ve missed some, or want to send them to a friend, it’s easy to get to. All are posted, in reverse order. You can also see them on www.MenloPark.Patch.com a newly launched online community newspaper.)
Today was errand day in NBO. Ben (accountant) drove the car I drive to buy new tires, paint for the Ndingi staff room, blackboard paint and a printer for the Ndingi staff—yes, those were their request, as you may recall.
Joyce, who makes the bags we sell, went with us so she and I could select fabrics. She hustled me around to myriad small shops, all of which were run by Indians—now I know why all the fabrics are made there. This shop reminds me of my earliest childhood—small, cluttered, dusty and ever so interesting to take in all the stuff. Joyce is on the right, proprietor leaning on the counter. We only liked one pattern here, found 2 at the next shop, but the proprietor was such a sourpuss I didn’t even request a photo. The next 2 had nothing we liked, and several she has patronized before were closed (she thought b/c they had very low inventory)
Almost ready to give up, we stopped at one last shop and hit pay dirt! This shop had such a great selection I felt like a kid in a candy shop, unable to make a choice. The prices were higher, but we bought 6 different patterns, which I hope will entice some of you. Joyce will make shopping bags as well as padded totes.
Loaded down with heavy bags, we called Ben to see how he was faring. He was nearby, but the traffic was crawling. I’ve seen Nairobi traffic jams, but this was the mother of them all.
We stood on the street for maybe ½ hour until we saw the car, inching forward. We ran into the street, hopping into the car just as the lane opened up and off we went to the last errand, the tire shop. The car parts area is located on a very narrow, busy street. The parking fairy was sort of in our camp, as we found a small spot on the opposite side of the street from the shop, which doesn’t have a nice large bay with a hydraulic hoist—no shop, no hoist, just change the tire on the street, or in our case, 4 of them. As the tires were being mounted, I watched the traffic sitting on the other side, the opposite direction from where we were heading. Impatient people had decided to pass, going into the oncoming lane, so stopping that lane too. A hand-pulled cart, piled high with green bananas, was going head to head with a huge lorry and neither one was backing down. Don’t know whether you can see it from this shot.
Other hand carts followed, along with the usual piki-pikis. As the hand cart pullers realized their mistakes and tried to get into their correct lane, the cars closed the gaps, making it impossible. I thought for sure they would be there ‘til Christmas!
It did eventually clear, and just in time, the tires were ready, we hopped in the car and Ben shot right out of there. He’s an expert driver, although he, like all the rest of them, talks on his phone, while one-handedly navigating the most horrendous turns and round-abouts, missing pedestrians by inches as they shoot across the street dodging and weaving. I tell you it is a sight.
We stopped at SFG for a brief consultation, picking up Peter (deputy) to ride into town, stopped at Ndingi to drop off paint and printer, finally home. It was harrowing, although I trust Ben’s driving completely.
Walking up the driveway, I saw this very sweet sight. Julia (in black) and Agnes, sitting with this daughter of one of the parish workers, living in the house in the background. Seeing them, she had crawled through a hole in the fence and come to greet them. Because they are so great with kids, they sat down to chat. With her right hand she is indicating that I should sit down next to her—which I did.
All for now. Tired.