The stage was set. Sunday was to be the day that my Kenyan staff and I headed north to the town of Marsabit (an aside on Marsabit. The Lonely Planet description for Marsabit begins “Marsabit is a long way from anywhere.”). On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we are interviewing candidates to be brought on full-time as mentors in Northern Kenya. We were all set to arrive Sunday evening. The only problem: my friends at home and I agreed that Sunday at 8 PM East Africa Time (no, we did not decide on “8 East Africa Time” we decided on 1 PM Eastern) would be when our draft started. When I asked my roommate Emma want percent chance I stood of making it to Marsabit on time, she told me that the percentage was a negative number.
We left at 11:37 AM, and first headed up to Merille. All roads may lead to Rome, but in Kenya, the paved road ends at Merille. The moment where the paved road ends but your journey doesn’t is certainly a surreal one. In Merille, we were set to meet with a local chief to discuss the introduction of our program in the near future. While Kura expected the meeting to take an hour, we were out after just 40 minutes. I began to hope. Maybe, just maybe we would arrive in Marsabit in time for the draft.
Several hours later, we arrive “a long way from anywhere,” in Marsabit. The time? 7:44. We arrive at the hotel. 7:50. I grab my computer from the car, and hurry into the room. 7:55. I plug my Safaricom modem in. The number of bars it shows is a lot, more than I could possibly hope for. I have it made! However, some how, inexplicably (well honestly, quite explicably) the internet doesn’t connect. Womp wooooomp.
Now, to wax poetic for a few lines about fantasy football. I found that, quite embarrassingly, really the first time I’ve gotten choked up here in Kenya was while talking with my friends in preparation for our fantasy league. It isn’t that I really care about the league—honest I probably won’t watch a snap of football while I’m here. It’s that, more than anything else, the hardest part about being abroad is not being able to spend time regularly with my friends. While I’m sure when I first arrive in the States again, my first 24 hours will involve an enormous burrito that I eat inappropriately fast, an absurdly long hot shower and a Blue Moon, the only real part of being away that I find difficult is time away from my friends and family. Whenever I hear about shenanigans my friends are up to together, I feel like on some level, while perhaps it’s completely irrational, that I’ve abandoned my best buddies. The chance to follow sports and make dumb jokes and trash talk with them is a reminder that wherever I go, some of the friendships I’ve made in college are ones that I’ll have for the rest of my life.
I’ve been without internet now for the last three days, hence my just posting this now, but I have a lot of content to upload. I’ve been writing like mad lately, I guess to make up for my recent lapse. Posts about Game Theory and Africa time, the absurdity of my alarm clocks, Swahili, Romney-Ryan and more to come!