Today is my two month anniversary of my arrival in Kenya. Geez! And it seems like only yesterday...
I arrived in Kenya with the instructions to look for Jeff, a "tall, red-haired" guy. If anything went wrong and he wasn't there to pick me up, there was a back-up plan in place: borrow someone's cell phone. If that didn't work, Kay had given me all the info for a hotel nearby. Knowing how anything and everything that can go wrong, will go wrong when you're doing field work, I was mentally prepared for the worst. But, after traveling from San Francisco, to Seattle, to Amsterdam and finally to Nairobi, I was really, really hoping Jeff would just be there.
It took us a few moments to find each other in the crowd. I was probably the most nervous-looking mzungu (white person) there, so maybe that's what clued Jeff in. I was so relieved that he was there to pick me up that it didn't even bother me when one of the first things out of his mouth was, "So, we're having a bit of car trouble." Evidently Jeff had broken down on the way to the airport and had barely made it there. We were probably going to have to push start the car after we loaded my bags in. I didn't care. I had found him and I wasn't alone in a strange city, in a strange country, on a strange continent.
We did have to push start the car, twice in the airport parking lot and then once again in the gas station we stopped at for food. We tried again for a fourth, failed, and were lucky enough to get a jump start from some helpful Kenyans. I quickly learned "asante sana" meant "thank you very much."
All seemed well until we made our way into the unlit portions of Nairobi, near the cottage we stay in while in town. That was when it became quite obvious that our headlights were barely working. They continued to get dimmer and dimmer. And then, it began to rain. Heavily.
I still don't know how Jeff found the cottage in that rainy mess without headlights or streetlights. Even after two months, I have a hard enough time when it's just dark out. It would be impossible for me without headlights and I might as well not even try if it's raining on top of that! But, make it we did.
And somehow, in the midst of all that chaos, just outside the airport, I saw my very first wild zebras. I am convinced that this whole adventure was Kenya's way of rolling out the red carpet and welcoming me with open arms.