below: our backyard in Sena: straight up cornfields]
Someone should tell the folks at
I wake up to the sound of twittering birds intermixed with roaring diesel engines without mufflers. I walk 4 km to work on a dirt path next to the highway, hopping over sewage, chickens and walking wide paths around cows and goats. In the mornings, I dodge boda bodas, regular bikes, slow pedestrians, tuk tuks, speed-demon matatus that swerve like crazy, giant buses and trucks spewing out black clouds of exhaust into my face. When I get to work, I thank all the higher beings in the world for sparing my life.
My sweat has dried, making the dust and dirt cling onto my skin for the rest of the day. The sun has already darkened my nose; the rest of my body is covered in the usual conservative Kenyan wanna-be Western attire. The blisters of my sandal-clad feet have already turned into calluses.
I then spend the day working with clinical officers and nurses who haven’t been paid for 2 months because their payor in Nairobi is slow, and it take 5-7 days for salary checks to clear at the local bank. I see clients (patients) who had to sell their family goat in order to have enough money to travel from their rural home to our clinic monthly. I see people who have obviously been ill for many years, but they wait till their disease is too advanced for them to handle at home. So there’s the mama who left her deep wound till her next scheduled visit. And the kid who came in with a giant mass in her neck, most likely a lymphoma. And the skeletal man, skin taut over his bony body with deeply sunken cheeks and eye sockets, who got tested only now, and said that he’d been previously “fine.” Somehow I doubted that.
Even the rain here is RAIN. It’s not the mealy half-hearted foggy drizzles that we get in
Life here is raw. There is little protection from the earth, creatures of all types, the dirt of industrialism. There is no shield from the scammers and the neediest in the world. Most non-black folk here in
It feels good to live more raw. It’s harder in many ways, but so is truly living.