Corlett, Cedric, Nompi, Paul and Goodenough at the Uhuru Park in Nairobi
I wake up the following morning with a serious need, almost a craving, to go and email my story, the last in an installment of four I have already sent to a weekend newspaper and tons of pictures. All this sending was done under extremely trying circumstances as you might have read in the past entries. I enter the dining room at 7h30 and find that no one is here, I am definitely the first one as Sylvia told me two minutes earlier that some of the folks came back at around 6h30 from the South Afica party the night before at Gretsa University.
I fix myself breakfast and am soon joined by Abraham who is also about to have his breakfast. "I would have had my breakfast but I thougth I should wait for you. You are the only person outside of the Palestinians who knows their history and struggle so well". I am flattered, this coming from a man who went on a safari with the Palestinian delegation the day before. He made sure everybody knew about such an honour.
We eat our breakfast slowly and start discussing the South African media and advertising and how it reflects the reality of a country in transition. I get surprised when he says to me that he's never seen a black pilot in the US. For sure they're so racist any airline that puts them on the frontline is going to lose customers. We discuss the fuck-ups America is involved in all over the world and how overstretched its military is to the point that if it took on Iran it might end up bogged down in a conflict it might not see to the end. He's touched, he says he is a persona non grata in Israel due to his leftist views, he can't enter any Arabian country due to the Israeli immigration stamp on his passport and he wants to go to the refugee camps next to the Somali border but he's scared he'll be mistakened for a Mossad agent, or worse, CIA. I tell him he can fool anyone if he wants to. He reasons that they'll pick it on his accent which is too American. "American or not your accent can pass off as South African, we don't have a uniform accent down there". He wants to know if he should put on his Palestinian kefir which I think is a bad idea and let him know it.
I found it funny when I told Paul some hours later and he said Abraham should face those repurcussions because they come with the territory of championing causes like those of Palestinians. Paul talks so soft you'll be tempted to think he was not serious, but he was at this time.
After breakfast me, my Zulu friend and Abraham decide to catch a matatu to the capital, Nairobi. Immediately we wait at Route 100 a matatu comes and we jump in. It has a DVD player and we enjoy music videos, it's Red San and 50Cent. Soon we are on the outskirt of the city and part with a few shillings. We catch another matatu, advised by a local resident and get dropped at central Nairobi. Abraham says the best internet facilities are found at Barclays Plaza, our Zulu friend is looking for forex. We meet an old man who 'volunteers' to find us all the places we are looking for. He suddenly makes himself out tourguide. I've got a feeling my Zulu friend is too trusting. He's never heard the line, 'in the city you don't know who to trust'.
He's maneouvering through heavy traffic with the old man who is walking rather fast for an old man. Look, Nairobi is not known for traffic lights. The man gets to forex which is actually a bank and the old man waits outside like a sentry. While they are there I look at a map of the town provided by Abraham and try to figure out our current location. Somehow, a map without a compass is like a submarine without a radar or telescope, I can't figure out where we are but I can see Uhuru and Tom Mboya Streets.
Soon our friend comes through with the old man on tow. He then escorts us to Barclays Plaza. Twenty metres away he stops and signals where the plaza is. "Asante", that's what I say. The Zulu wants him sorted financially, which he does after I gave him the green light. We walk towards the plaza, we are subjected to metal detectors and walk downstairs to the internet cafe. It's a nice spot with a coffee shop, a stationery and book store.
I occupy my computer and start working, the thing is slow and frustrates, I finish, burns my pix on disc and reach out to Abraham who is working on the internet. He says he will still like to be around for one more hour and if we can leave him with our cellphone numbers. I don't have a phone but the Zulu has but doesn't know the number by heart. Funny heh, he bought the starter pack here some five days ago. He gives me the phone and I try to call Abraham's number which fails to receive. Okay, we will stroll around and come back in an hour's time to collect Abraham.
We leave for Central Park and take photographs of the Monument, a high structure reportedly built by former president Arap Moi as a celebration of ten years as president.
After that we leave, see police in a Peugeot 504 trying to stop a car speeding along Kenyatta Road. We thinking, they are going to kill the poor suspects as they've been doing for some time now.
Then we go back to Abraham, on the way we stop at a boutique that sells shoes for 8000Ksh. "Must be the local version of Spitz", I tell my friend. When we get to Abraham he says he still needs another hour or more as he's expecting guests. He is busy posting some things on his blog, http://myspace.kirbycracker.com. We decide to leave him and go back to Kiambu. Problem, we don't know how to get there and ends up walking the whole town asking people for directions, entering Nakumatt to buy wine and some juice and food and milk and asking questions until we get to a taxi rank and ask marshals and get shown the Route 100 matatus (not taxi). It's extremely hot.
We embark and suddenly have a conversation with a woman who likes our South African accents, though they are different since my Zulu friend's one is influenced and mine too, in different ways. We have a healthy conversation with the woman until we get to Paradise Lost (Kiambu) and disembark, get to our house where it's so hot, everyone is out there drinking beer or playing pool.
I advance to my room and find it locked, go to the main house where Pauline is having lunch. I complain to Sylvia that I need my key and that the bed wasn't made the day before. Pauline finishes eating and goes to fetch it. It takes her forever to retrieve it and I end up leaving for the pool table on the adjoining house. I come back minutes later and request Sylvia to put my two cartons of juice and one bottle of wine into the fridge as I take one pint and intoxicate myself.
The day is spent in the living room watching music videos on television. Some of the guys are not around anyway but gone to town. They only come back hours later carrying large platic bags, Philemon has bought some Nandos and chips. Me and Tshepo are busy playing pool, together with Kenneth as a Kenyan girl keeps buzzing Tshepo to give her attention. "She doen's know how arrogant I am. I've got what I wanted which she denied me for the whole week and now she's calling me", he complains as we continue playing.
Night crawls and we have our dinners and long conversations over television news. Another group left at 16h00 for South Africa and another one is leaving the following morning. It's the shrinking of the family that is now harming the mood at the house or rather bringing us very closer to each other. I'm chilling with my one litre orange juice, while the other folks are having snacks and whisky. Really I can't drink alcohol so occassionally like some little Bantu alcoholic. We go to sleep, having been told that Nompi is not well, we joke that it's initiation by the unkind Kenyan currents. She's not well, we not worried because before coming here we took precautions like malaria tablets and innoculations. She'll be fine.
Day Seven
This should be my last day in Kenya and starts with Nompi joining us for breakfast. Yeah, she's smiling but complaining as well saying she's on medication which was kindly arranged for her. I joke that we thought she was dead, she smiles, I ensure her that anything that can not kill her will make her stronger. She's picking at her breakfast like a bird. She doesn't look in pain but still not well. Nompi is beautiful hey, even when ill.
We have our breakfast, me and Abraham continue our now infamous conversations about the collision of civilisations. After that Corlett and Cedric and Paul decide to go to town. I'm tired and decide to lie down on the sofa. I fall asleep, bits and pieces. Actually the day is spent with me struggling to stay awake as the effects of the march are now catching up with me.
I move out with Tshepo to my bedroom. He's tired as well, what with the 20 kilometres plus an all-night party and decides to sleep on the other bed. I notice that my bed hasn't been made and go to Sylvia to report. She says she can go and fix it, "you can go now-now"
"No, not with that person in the room", she says it with a naughty smile. I can see she only noticed that I wasn't alone but didn't see the other person.
"It's a he and I'm not a homosexual"
"Okay, but still I'm not going in there"
"Go summon him outside then"
She agrees and I ask for bananas that I see on a bowl, she gives the green light and signals me to relax on the verandah. Soon Tshepo comes and Sylvia organises him bananas as well and both of us orange juice. She's nice. We sit on the verandah, ogling the children as they walk past us.
Afternoon comes to soon for any person who's doing nothing. A Kenyan boy comes through and we have a conversation, political and social as always. I don't share jokes or girl-talk with strangers but politics, economics and social issues with them. We talk for hours on end, play three pool games until Tshepo joins us. We leave for the house, Zulu is playing solitaire on the computer, Kenneth is gone, and so is a third of the once big happy family.
I end up chatting to the children of the household. A household I have come to discover that it is owned by a man whose family owns eleven hotels and one university. They tell me he's one of the richest people in Kenya. I ask if he inherited the wealth they say he worked for it. I'm suspiciously impressed.
At some point the Kenyan boy leaves and I accompany them up until the main road, him and a South African woman from Mpumalanga. I get a lift from the son of the extremely rich man and when I get to the house starts cracking conversation with the kids. I ask them when are they coming to South Africa, they tell me on 2010. Somebody remind me, what's happening on 2010? They show me night vision goggles which they say are owned by 'the lil' ones', says the girl who says she's learning British.
Corlett, Paul and Cedric come back and it's all good again and we engage in conversations including the party's post-mortem. Sis Daphney is with us and we discuss at length and I even sell them copies of my book Journey With Me and sign autographs. I have my dinner, go to pack and come back. When I go back to say goodbye to Sylvia she tells me I forgot something in the fridge, oops my wine and juice. I get both of them, go to the other family members, open my wine and in an impoptu excercise I decide to give the juice to Pauline, "something to remember me by", I say. "Asante".
We depart the house, I offer Paul a casual sip of my wine which he enjoys and asks for more. We go our separate ways, I spend a few minutes with Sylvia in the kitchen, she's sitting down and looking at me in a funny way. She's smiling, something says to me 'you could be loved'. I smile back, "can you please wake me at 3h00?"
"Sure, but your friend is not here"
"The Kenyan"
Yeah, well, he's not here but he's supposed to leave at 4h00 with all of us. I'm wondering what's going to happen to him.

Day Eight

At around 2h00 Simon knocks on my door and I open for him and he goes straight to sleep after brushing his teeth.
We are awokened by Sylvia at 3h00, we take a shower and pack our things and get out and have breakfast and catch a matatu and go to town via Southern Blue Hotel. Wait at the airport after the customary immigration and customs procedures and the plane is two hours late and people are complaining and we finally board and we fly out of Kenya, past Killimanjaro and arrive at OR at 13h30 Kenyan Time.
On the plane I sat with a Kenyan patriot who enlightened me about many things I only read about and saw on Citizen TV while in Kenya. She told me she's visiting South Africa and maybe study. She's so damn intelligent I felt like marrying her. She told me something interesting about their beer Tusker. "They say in the absense of a Kenyan flag, you can just raise a Tusker because it says, 'I'm a Kenyan'". Way to go sister. We arrive, she gets her big bag, I re-adjust my wristwatch to 12h30.
* I am back in South Africa and sadly this brings an end to my Kenya Diary.
* I'm wondering how Nompi coped with her medical complications since I didn't check her out before I left.
* I'm wondering how the children of Korongocho will live for the remainder of the year and the rest of their natural lives.
* How many more suspects will Kenya Police kill by the end of the year.
* As I write this piece I am conforted by the AU's decision not to award the presidency to Sudan. Finally the struggle waged by Corlett, Nompi and many other nameless comrades paid off. I love all these people with my whole heart, for their spirit, their determination, their belief in the truimph of the human spirit, their ability to rise to their feet in the face of defeat. To all of them, the entire 250 strong South Africa family that held it down in Kenya, 'Asante', they say 'never before was so much owed by so many to so few'.

* Poor Kenya kids managed to be part of the WSF due to the South Africans' stand to force organisers to allow them.
* They had free food due to the South Africans at the WSF.
And my friends John and Yusuf, feel like telling them, 'boys, there's more to Africa than South Africa', there's more to life than a roll of shillings.

PS. Surprise surprise, the newspaper never used any of the stories I have been sending to them even though we've been communicating about them. Why? That's not my territory to ask. One love CITY PRESS.

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