Tea for Mud
May 21, 2010 § 3 Comments
My week kicked off with the welcomed arrival of sir Dave Betts from Bungoma. He came ripping through our gate, wide eyed after his first Disneyland ride up the Njabini roads and was greeted excitedly by our kids. He had bribed the driver of his bus from Bungoma to drop him ‘closer to Njabini,’ opposed to the planned stop in Naivasha, but ended up on the side of the highway with no real bearing for where he was. With little other option, he ended up catching a ride with a motorcycle on the main highway, which even our Kenyan staff couldn’t believe he did, and wound his way through our moon crater roads until he met Wombugu in town for a ride in one of our Land Rovers. It was certainly an adventure; so great to finally show a friend my little world here, to introduce Uncle Dave the children, and to just sit in front of a fire with a beer and talk about familiar people and things!
Wombugu (pronounced Wambogo) picked us up the next morning to take us to the stage so we could head into Nairobi for the day. Dave didn’t fly out until 11 p.m. but I had a few meetings scheduled with some media folks, so we decided to get in early and explore. A member of my board and now a friend, Peter Mugo, joined us, as he is my ‘in’ with the various characters at KBC (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation). We met up with Sarah, my boss and dearest friend here, and cruised through the Maasai Market so I could pick up a few last minute things to send with Dave. My market contact, James, escorted us through the many vendors and when it came time to barter he knew I was familiar with his game so it took some serious hashing. I have been told that when neither party is happy at the end of bargaining, you’ve reached a point of mutual give, and you should thus instead be happy. At the end of any solid purchase it is fair to ask James for a ‘gift’ – something for free. To give you an idea of how it went, after a half hour of ruthless bargaining, I asked James for my ‘gift,’ he told me I could ‘find a handkerchief to wipe the blood from my mouth,’ and that if I wanted a gift I had to give him enough shillings to buy him a beer ‘for all the stress I had caused him.’ I hold these comments close to my heart, and thank Hannah for teaching me her salty ways!
The media folks pushed the meeting to the following day, so we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring, talking about a possible partnership between Construction for Change and Flying Kites, and took Dave to the airport for his departure back to the States. Shortly after Dave’s departure came the arrival of Franny, the new manager of our Oasis Project and more long-term addition to our family here at Flying Kites. She is absolutely wonderful, proving quickly to be both savvy and a great friend, and I have only the brightest faith in her ability to conquer the task given.
The following morning I went to the Norfolk Hotel to meet Peter Mugo for our delayed round up of various media sources for the Day of the African Child event. He was three hours late, which is usually quite frustrating, but when at the Norfolk (Fairmont) Hotel – likely the nicest hotel in Kenya – there is little to complain about. I bought a few newspapers and a cup of tea, set up shop in the lobby, and did some serious people watching. Our meeting at KBC ended up being both productive and entertaining, raking in needed quotes and contacts for print, radio, and t.v., though bargaining here is a more diplomatic process. We secured some radio time, a possible appearance on a Kenyan morning t.v. program, and hopefully some bait for journalists to attend our March on the 12th of June. In other exciting news, Sarah and I managed to land meetings with two of Kenya’s most popular musicians, Jimmy Gates and Beatrice Wangui, one of which (with a little twinkle. Maybe a lotta twinkle.) will be headlining the event.
On my way out of Nairobi, I was able to pick up the Planet Earth series for our kids, which has been as exciting for them as it has been for me. Watching their awe at the many animals and places they have never seen (some they have never even heard of) is as entertaining and fulfilling as the actual footage itself. They are so curious and so excitable, it has struck them in every way I hoped it would.
I wish you a wonderful day, a wonderful weekend, and a heart full of gratitude and blessings! I am behind on my promise to post a playlist, but will do so soon. In the meantime, be magnetic.