Nairobi: the big city. I am not a big city gal, and according to Wikipedia, Nairobi's population is about three million which I think is the same as all of Alberta. Anyway I traveled to the big city for a important reason my Visitor Visa expired the end of the month, I needed a renewal to stay in the country. I knew that I would be making the trip sometime in December however due to Christmas and other holidays it was thought that it would be best to get it done and over with while the offices were still open. The trip to Nairobi was different than the other times I have traveled; previously I have been in the other missionaries cars and they drive, once we hired a driver to drive the car. However, there was no one with a car heading up to Nairobi, but a friend of mine and one of his friends were heading back to Nairobi on public transport - so I joined them. I have taken the greyhound before but this was a little different. We started out by car matatu, which I have taken before. This was for the short trip from Tenwek to Bomet (Bomet is the larger town close to Tenwek) We found a matatu and hopped in. Elizabeth in the backseat with three other adults and one or two babies, Todd in the trunk with all the luggage and another lady, I was in the driver seat not driving, that was the driver's job. However I could have reached the brake if I was unhappy with his driving. This is normally a 5-10 minute drive but about halfway we got a flat tire so we all piled out, and waited for them to change the tire, thankfully the spare was not flat (or absent). Once the tire was changed we all squeezed back in and traveled to Bomet. The first leg of our journey done. It was time to get the van matatu to take us to Nairobi.
We went to the matatu stand and bought our seats we bought four seats for the three of us so we could place our luggage somewhere. Than we waited, rather than having a scheduled van leave every few hours they just have a van wait until it is full or close to full and then go. Even though we were one of the first ones in this matatu we did all right as I think it only took 30min before we left. We were blessed with a good diver who was quite safe, and efficient. The drive continued on to Nairobi without any complications.
Once we reached Nairobi we had to find the car we had hired to drive us around the city, this took a few cell phone calls and aimless wandering but we eventually found him. From there we proceeded to a local mall where we window shopped and we also went out for supper, something I have not done for quite a few months (unless you count eating out at a friend's place). From there the driver brought us all to our respective locations.
I stayed at the home of a WGM missionary who is a Nurse Practitioner in Nairobi, it was good to meet up with her as well as a few others who were spending sometime there until their flight left at 3 am. It was great to reconnect and say good-bye once again.
Monday meant a trip to immigration, Jo who works for WGM helped me out extremely with all of this. He is Kenyan and speaks the language as well as understands what I was supposed to do. Otherwise I think I would still be there. Even though he knew what we were doing we started at window four were sent to window five did some paper work, went to back to window four and window six to pay, then handed things in at window three waited for a while and then sent to room fifteen for fingerprinting, finally pick up the my passport again at window five (some of the numbers may be wrong). They will now issue an alien card for me which will probably get completed after it expires. At least that is done.
That was only my morning in Nairobi, the afternoon was spent at Nakumatt, Kenyan Walmart where I did enough shopping to hopefully get me through the next few weeks if not months, because I was coming home alone it meant I had lots of room in the car for groceries meaning i bought for many families at tenwek. The trip home was not nearly as exciting as my trip to Nairobi, I hired a diver to take me back home. As I was travelling alone I was advised against taking a matatu. Back home at Tenwek time to unpack, sort out the groceries, and head out to the Christmas party. I will blog again soon to share more about the holidays here at Tenwek.