All my bank problems have finally been resolved, and I am so happy! For a week I have had no access to any money… but now I have a new pin and my card is actually working in an ATM here in Kitengela! The good old Kenya Central Bank (KCB) has given me cash…! Now I can finally pay back Sophie, and continue with my travel plans.
I had intended to stay 2 nights in Nairobi but I am back in Kitengela because of my complete lack of funds, but actually it’s the better option anyway as it gives me more time to sort things out… I have lots of packing to do! Today we listened to the radio for about 4 hours – “Kiss 100, Nairobi’s best music station” – and I really love that station! Then we went shopping in Kitengela, I went to the bank and delightedly received money out, then bought supplies for my next journey and some celebratory lollipops, to toast my ATM success. Also bought a cd for 200 shillings (2 pounds) which I am very excited about as it has “Yori Yori” on it, which is my favourite song. Now that I have money I will even be able to top up my phone, and once again be able to have the luxury of texting people!
Tomorrow I am going to get the matatu to Nairobi about 3pm (midday in the UK) and then check in for my train at 6pm. Then I’ll get the overnight train to Mombasa, get there on Tuesday morning at Some Time (there is no schedule for anything in Kenya) find a place to stay and then explore Kenya’s 2nd city. On Wednesday I’ll get the Likoni ferry to the mainland south of Mombasa (Mombasa is an island) and then catch a matatu to Diani where i’m planning to live in a banda (beach hut) for 2 weeks. It will be really great to have a break from everything I’ve been doing so far and just lay on the beach. After that is a blank right now.
My last day at school on Friday was fantastic, we had a lovely lunch (that wasn’t beans!!!) cooked by Leah the deputy headteacher. There was dancing in the staff room, and I planted my passionfruit tree in the vegetable garden. There is still no water but the pump is now in the process of being fixed, it’s just taking forever. I said goodbye to all the kids in their classrooms, gave Benjamin a hug, and came back to Kitengela at the end of the day with Leah and Gladys. The teachers gave me a present of a framed picture of a lion, which is great, and even more wonderful is the thought behind it, since it was a present given to me out of profound generosity by people who have very little. I stupidly forgot to take in the books I had bought to put in the library.
Yesterday, Saturday, Sophie and I went into Nairobi to try and sort my bank difficulties, to no avail, but I did cash in my travellers’ cheques at a Bureau in Mama Ngina Street. We went to the Maasai market to buy souvenirs and unfortunately I got “Mzungued”, as Sophie puts it. And it’s a good description, that’s exactly what happened to me; what happens everywhere all the time – and it’s very, very frustrating – is that people always try to charge a white person into paying way more than the value of something, mostly it is completely ridiculous, like 10 times the actual price. Absolutely nobody understands that western people have varying financial situations just like Kenyans do, and that they are not all Bill Gates or Richard Branson. Anyway I got bullied into paying far more than I should have; Sophie said she shouldn’t have left me alone, but I was feeling much more confident than my last time at the Maasai market and I didn’t mind when we got separated by the inevitable people pulling us in different directions. Sophie is brilliant at bargaining and I am horrendous at it, I am the worst barterer who ever lived! anyway it wasn’t too bad a situation, it’s just that I DID get “Mzungued”. We had lunch at Java coffee, which is like a western coffee house and it’s amazing. We get so excited by simple things like having chips, a sandwich, or seeing a toilet with a toilet seat.
After lunch we went to Book Point, a (fairly) big bookshop along Moi Avenue, as Sophie’s mum had donated some money for her to buy books for her school. We had fun choosing all the books and I got a map of Africa. We got the matatu home to Kitengela, looked at our stuff on my bed and realised that my map of Africa is quite inaccurate – the Arabian Gulf is coloured green for land instead of blue for sea… …