Nairobi is a city of odors, noise, and action. The belching smoke of busses and matatus (minibuses) mixes with the acrid smells of garbage, sweat, and sewer, and the aromas of chapatti (flatbread) cooking on a roadside stand. Pedestrians dodge traffic to cross streets where vehicles ignore stoplights and force their way through roundabouts by intimidation.
Angie Ostbye, a special education teacher, and I arrived late evening June 16 with nine duffle bags of supplies for the ASAH Home for Girls. Our first few nights we stayed at the Country Lodge, a contemporary-style budget business hotel. This allowed us a comfortable transition from the US and access to the Fairview Hotel restaurants.
Then we moved to Mayfield Guest House, owned by Africa Inland Missions (AIM) and populated by missionary families and other humanitarian workers. Toilets and showers and tubs down the hall, mosquito net-draped beds, in-room sinks and wireless Internet. Meals are served family-style and dinner companions may on leave from their work translating the New Testament in South Sudan, piloting evacuees from the border areas during this difficult transition to independence, teaching pastors how to use media developed for remote areas to serve their congregations, or teaching the Gospel to isolated tribes.
We spent our time in Nairobi procuring additional supplies for our boarding facility for orphan girls in Duk Payuel, South Sudan. Joseph Akol Makeer helped Angie and me bargain for shoes at one of the markets with hundreds of stalls and shops selling every kind of goods. The transactions were lengthy, but our prices were still higher than what a local would pay. Just the presence of a couple of white women starts the bidding higher.
At Tusky’s, a large department store, we purchased everything from garden tools to bed sheets, from cooking supplies, food, and toiletries to plastic tables and stools. We spent many hours over three days there, leaving our goods for them to box and transport to AIM Air the day before our flight.