01 June 2009

Kisumu and so on…

There are a lot of thoughts and things and events here, so the list method will do me best.  Some things will be mentioned with more or less detail and I guess that will correspond to whatever may or may not have struck me and remained for a few days.  There will be no order in terms of days, but this will stretch the time between Friday and now:

  • Watched Chelsea dispatch of Everton to win the FA cup.  Enjoyed the match, beers during, fellow Chelsea fans, the victory, and a projection screen.  I did not know how much I missed that experience and I thought I got it in Mombasa but apparently not.  That will be all for football, sometimes I talk about it too much.
  • Rode a large bus back from Kisumu with the hopes that it would be more comfortable and faster.  I did achieve the comfort part, but the whole speed thing did not materialize.  There was the slight issue of it having a matatu mentality that caused more stops.  Passangers will filled so that some sat/stood in the aisles.  There were two seats to a side with the aisle being wide enough for a single person to pass.  People filled the seats, bags overhead, biggest made it to the roof, last bags were in the aisle and finally people filled in the gaps.  We took on and dropped off at most towns, long stop in Kakamega and finally home to Malava by 4pm after leaving at 3pm.  The entire trip is no more than 90 km.
  • At Nakumatt I saw a white sleeveless hoodie, for children, with a picture of Che and written below ‘Resist Oppression.’
  • On the bus from Kisumu one of the conductors was wearing a short sleeve button down shirt.  It was blood red with two patches on each breast.  On the left: Playboy with the logo.  On the right: Photographer.  Both in white stitching.
  • Walked around Kisumu and the street boy problem is disturbing.  Boys walk around town with 1 pint plastic bottles under their front teeth.  They run about here and there with the bottle, lip curled and just under the nose.  In the bottle itself is a yellowish substance that looks like urine.  Glue, likely rubber cement, sits in the plastic container emitting noxious toxins that the boys inhale as it rests under their noses.  The high that they attain suppresses hunger and reduces them to bumbling for money.  Many end up slouched on the ground.  One sleeps with his head resting against a cinderblock wall, feet under his knees, with arms under the neck.  His eyes seemed to be rolled in the back of his head, but the lids were closed too much to really tell.  Lips are a resting place for saliva that will not dry due to continuous drool.  He looks up on occasion to take in the sunny haze of the day and drifts back to his pseudo-semi-death state.  Another group of boys rested amongst trees, playing dice games and likely gambling.  They hooted at the game, yelled at the whites to give them anything and resumed as if nobody had passed.   Like ghosts, some are strewn across the ground in the back, sleeping off the high.  Bottles are waved as the players celebrate and their friends remain motionless.  No more significant to their game that the police officer standing on the opposite corner.  He chats with someone, refusing to look at the youth wasting, no melting under the shade.  They are too young to drink let alone get high, but are an accepted part of the city.  No different than the car that passes.  Kisumu is riddled with these children, almost all boys, walking about.  All has been made worse by a city ravaged by violence in January of 2007.
  • Stanley Kubrick is still, in my opinion, the best director ever.
  • I said I would not mention soccer anymore, but I was struck by the fact that the wonderfully run AIG happens to be the sponsor for Man U.  Why is it that the sponsor for the best team in England (sadly) happens to be AIG?  The name is across the uniform, bigger than the name of the team itself.  So now our government sponsors an English Premier League team.
  • Saw the movie Duplicity in Kisumu.  Julia Roberts is looking old but manages to play the girl next door with mediocre acting as she always does.  Clive Owen is smug and snarky with some great lines that seem to fit his acting abilities.  The real people to watch are Tom Wilkerson and Paul Giamatti (sorry if my spelling is off).  Their opening scene is perfect.  In slow motion the two charge at each other, facial skin moves from the sonic bursts of yells that emanate from their guts, as they storm at each other and tussle on to the ground.  Not the world’s best film, but that scene is worth seeing.  Also, their is a fun twist and it rails on large corporations, which is always fun.
  • We arrived early at the Nakumatt and had to wait for awhile.  I went to the bathroom and upon leaving realized that I was locked in.  I tried to loudly open the door and after a few moments a man opened with profuse apologies repeated.  It was good for a laugh mostly because they felt so badly about locking me in.
  • I continue to find that the morning is the best part of the day.  I cleaned out our house, swept our rooms and beat the rugs.  All was accomplished by 11am.
  • Kids here love being picked up and tossed into the air.
  • The power continues to be spotty.  We have so far only lost it for as long as a full day, but it has been turning off and on more often.
  • I tried to show the kids The Wizard of Oz but discovered that another disc was blank.  Fortunately, they loved watching Gene Kelly dance away in Singing in the Rain.
  • Three day week this week due to the holiday today.
  • The man seated next to me on the bus wore a wool sweater with a down coat.  I was hot in a t-shirt and continue to be baffled by Kenyan ideas about warmth and cool.