Thursday, January 14

A Year (or Two) in Kenya: Six months

A little over six months in Nakuru now. It's special. Why? Because I'm halfway through. More lies behind than lies ahead.

A bloody lot has changed in that time. Seven children advanced from pre-school to primary, and another five from primary to secondary. Of the fifteen-odd staff on when we arrived, maybe four are left. I don't teach classes anymore. We have teachers on staff to do that. Pokot, with all of its hunger, poverty, aridity and everything, has become routine. Nairobi doesn't scare me. The matatu drivers know without asking where to let me off. The weekly menu has been tweaked. I had my hair cut. I've lost two notches on my belt. The Harambee Stars blew chances at the World Cup, Cup of Nations and CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup.

I've hardly noticed. Sure, if you ask about them, I'll remember them, no problem. The thing is, they're more distant. They wouldn't be the first thing to come to mind were you to ask what has changed the most. The answer? The most trite possible. The kids have grown. Not the older ones so much, but those in pre-school certainly. They're lankier. They're taller. Their heads are more in proportion to their bodies. How banal. It's the cliché response expected from every aunt and uncle who has not seen their youngest relations in years. Yet it's true.

I know this series is named "A Year (or Two) in Kenya," but it is looking near definite that it is going to be the former of those two options. However, I will only change the title accordingly when I have the tickets in hand. Until then, enjoy the ambiguity and potential for another eighteen months worth of utterly fascinating insight and thought.

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