Kenya Diaries – Day 9 (Part 1)

I woke up in the pitch dark, at some unearthly hour. I refused to stay awake and managed to get off again until past 6:30. A quick breakfast and then we loaded our cases into the New Life Homes minibus and I climbed in the back for the last time. We set off for the airport, back through Kisumu town centre, dodging people, bikes, motor bikes, tuc-tucs, goats, trucks, lorries, cows and pedestrians, as we bumped onto the turn into the airport, bouncing over the potholes, the railway tracks and the rutted dirt wasteland that leads to the airport.

We unloaded and put everything through the scanner before checking in, then we walked through to the marquee at the side of the runway, otherwise known as the departure lounge. We hugged and thanked Bev and Charlie and waved goodbye.  A coach arrived. We boarded and drove across the dirt track to the other side of the airport, past the tarmac laying gang working alongside the live runway. We stopped on the other side of the field and boarded our plane. 10 minutes later we were headed back to Nairobi.

We landed, collected our bags and exited, to be met by Francis – our driver, who set off towards our guest house. Having finally got out of the airport after a half hour queue – apparently the barriers in the car park had packed up so they were using the 3 barriers at the main airport exit but one wasn’t working and one was for automatic exit with a pass, except no one had a pass, so they parked, got out and walked across to the single manned booth, holding up the last lane, the one we were in, while they paid in cash. This is Africa. As we waited, a bemused herd of giraffes watched us through the fence.

Our guest house in an area of government offices (a “no corruption zone” according to the official signs) belonged to the Anglican Church of Kenya. A place where a warm welcome could have been on offer however the rather blunt demand for cash up front from the unsmiling receptionist put paid to that. And why did everyone think I was a pastor? Was it the jacket? Our rooms were fine. My loo didn’t flush. I took the lid off, plunged my hand in and reattached the link to the main valve.

It was an interesting arrangement of bathroom fixtures and fittings, the door wouldn’t close because the toilet was in the way. The toilet roll holder was positioned on the wall opposite the toilet, behind the door. This is Africa.