So I am here. In Kenya. In a lovely little town called Kericho. Typing this from my grand – temporary – bedroom, enjoying some luxury before our 20 fellows arrive on Saturday.
I landed in Nairobi a week ago, amidst speculative terrorism and political uncertainty. We survived. It’s like anywhere really, the media hype from hundreds of thousands of miles away creates a bigger well of tension and fear.
The sad news yesterday of 50 odd deaths in an area near Mombassa isn’t pleasant but we’re running this project in a really rural area in the south rift valley closer to to Uganda and Tanzania than it is the Somalian border or the Kenyan coastal region.
Via a quick stop over in Dubai, we cut through customs quickly and hopped into our 2 hour Mutatu to Nakuru, our base for the first 5 days.
Nakuru is a reasonably large place by African standards, but would be considered a small city by ours. A traditional grid system with a central park means you can get around easily, and predominantly on foot. After dark, transport is not just advisable – its essential. An 8pm curfew across the city means if you’re caught walking home from a night out, you can get fined – or worse, arrested.
Our ‘big night out’ – potentially my only big night out in 4 months, so there were expectations at stake – saw me and my team walk into the hottest spot in town – an upmarket jointed that appeared to be frequented by Nakuru’s more well to do locals and ex-pats, Rafiki’s. I could have been in Clapham Junction.
But it was a nice spot, civilised. A place to get a nice glass of wine perhaps, of an evening. And we made new friends.
After a quick G&T a more ‘local’ place beckoned.
A short tuk tuk ride later and we were spilling out into a busy restaurant, getting our hands stamped at the front of a queue at the back of the room, and were piling down some stairs into a sweaty hot basement full of bodies moving to a heavy beat with a familiar UK Garage sample from back in the day.
For a couple of songs we all ‘raved’, avoiding the local attention and equally not avoiding it.
Me & my colleague Anna danced the rest of the night away in as (dis)graceful fashion as we could, whilst the boys stood at the bar awkwardly, watching the football.