Kenya Day 3/4

I’m going to try to write this in the 15 minutes I have before I go check out the sunrise on Lake Victoria, one of my favorite activities. Last night, the magic was unfortunately blocked by an annoying Dutch guy.

A few things happened before then.

First, we’re pulling out of a Nakumatt in Kisumu and are blocked by a truck attempting to perfectly line itself up between two yellow lines. We attempt to drive around it, taking advantage of a tiny amount of space which leaves us cockeyed between the rows of cars. The truck stupidly backs into us and our driver jumps out, annoyed. An argument begins.

Eventually, it gets worse. A large woman in the passenger seat jumps out, baby in hand, screaming at the top of her lungs in a furious mixture of Luo, Swahili and English. It turns out that if Kenyans really want to insult one another, they’ll use English, after all, tribal languages are for families, Swahili is for brotherhood, and English is the cold language of business and government.

“You are a stupid and useless man!” I’m laughing at the comedy of the flailing woman and a crowd of men is quickly forming. This could get back really quick. I’m thankful that the angry lady hasn’t brought me into this.

I’m half asleep on the way back. Returning to Lake Victoria and Luoland is always exhilarating. People are so incredibly friendly out here, despite the poverty and decades of political marginalization. I’m hearing that support for Odinga is slipping and the Orange Democratic Movement, which once claimed unified support from the Luo, is set to split. This could be disastrous for one of the poorest parts of Kenya.

Still, it’s great to hear the sing song tonal sounds of the Luo language and it’s odd fascination with sleep. It’s a great contrast to matter-of-fact and mechanical Swahili.

It’s hot as hell out here. The contrast in weather from Nairobi to Nyanza is staggering.

I have to get to all of those other things that happened, but time’s up and I have to go and see the sunset…

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About Pete Larson

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Nagasaki University Institute for Tropical Medicine

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