Ben drove us back to the city centre in a repeat experience of the hair-raising ride out to the slums. The ladies wisely all climbed in the back again. I did shut my eyes on several occasions, and prayed hard. We made it to New Life Homes unscathed where the ladies got out. I had volunteered to accompany Anne to the new ICRI centre in Karen. The place is an empty house which they are renting. There are a couple of desks in there at present, with computers. It was deserted when we arrived. I was told to get back in the car with Ben who drove me up the road to meet Ken Jaffe, the American executive director of ICRI who happened to be in Nairobi that day meeting a developer to arrange the fitting out of the new building as a nursery / teaching training centre.
Ken is a very interesting and charismatic character. I liked him a lot. A trained lawyer, he has worked in Early Years for many years. He shares his home life between the US and Sweden. Last year he had a brain tumour removed. ICRI works in over 50 different countries to improve Early Years Care and Education for all children. His role is very influential. The next week he was meeting the Malaysian Prime Minister. He had recently been in Haiti, Nepal, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Gambia.
While Ken met with the developer, I talked to Ben, the driver. He told me he was 1 of 9 children from the countryside north of Nairobi. He has a wife and a 2 month old son, Wesley. He finds life in Nairobi tough. That evening he had to drive us back into the city, dropping us at our hotels by 7pm, he then had to take the 4 x 4 to a garage and travel 1- 2 hours home, dependent on traffic. If he gets there after 11pm, the compound gate is locked for the night. He was afraid that if he was heard banging on the gate at that time, someone would come and rob him or possibly kill him. Such incidents are not uncommon. He had to collect Ken from his hotel the next morning at 6:15 to take him to the American Embassy. This would mean the 1-2 hour journey from home to collect the vehicle and then a drive across the city to the hotel. So having got home at 11, he would need to be up again at 4.