Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jamie and I want to marry Mr. Darcy... or maybe just Colin Firth.

Pride & Prejudice. What a beautiful story. Why do women love it so much? Is it the tortured Mr. Darcy? The sexual tension between our two protagonists? Or the notion that semi-attractive, sensible women really do have a chance at finding true love? Ugh… I sound like such an inquisitive romantic; I’m making myself nauseous. It’s stories like Pride & Prejudice that self-help books like “He’s Just Not That Into You” strive to contradict. Will a man really let you know if he’s interested, or does it pay to be pushy? The lack of consensus vexes me. Jamie and I just finished watching the BBC mini series version of the classic story. Last night was our third night in a row spent with Ms. Elizabeth. Even British television can’t ruin a story that good!

Most of the reports on the safety of Nairobi suggest not traveling outside after dark sans taxi, so we’ve been sitting in our room from 7 till bedtime either reading or watching movies on Jamie’s laptop. Sometimes, when we walk to the store around 6:30 and then race to make it home before sunset, I feel like we’re in some zombie movie like “I Am Legend.” Tonight we did venture out into the dark (via taxi of course) to meet a Kenyan Georgetown alumna for dinner. The restaurant was this really cool Ethiopian place. As our car pulled into the gated compound, we could smell incense burning. We got out of the car and walked up a winding, lit path through flowering trees and found ourselves in the midst of a collection of several patios/huts connected by little footpaths. Each outdoor room was adorned with comfy chairs and low tables. We found Rose, picked a room, and she ordered for us. The food was very good, but a little bit greasy and every bite is basically the same flavors over and over again – as opposed to having a dinner of something like vegetables, chicken and rice. (For those of you who haven’t had Ethiopian, you use your hands to break off pieces of pancake and then use that to pick up small pieces of meat). Rose was simply wonderful. We hope to see her again soon.

Oh yeah, I’m in Kenya now if you haven’t guessed!! Been here almost one week. I haven’t written or blogged yet because I got such positive feedback on my blog last summer, and I’m afraid of posting anything that won’t live up to your expectations. Also, to be quite frank, nothing exceedingly fascinating has happened yet. Kenya is so different from Rwanda and even Uganda. For one thing, it’s not like I’m constantly pondering the lasting impact of genocide. The country doesn’t have the same indescribable, eerie feeling that characterizes Rwanda. Poverty isn't shoved in my face here either. So far, Nairobi seems to be more similar to Rabat than either Kigali or Kampala. I haven’t seen any houses with tin roofs; I’ve come across neither beggars nor maimed people; and the women in my neighborhood carry fancy purses, not sacks of grain on their heads. Sure the roads are packed with matatus and other speeding vehicles, pollution is horrid, and dirt gets on everything, but the mall we visited on Saturday was just as nice as any mall in DC – nicer perhaps. (It had a swimming pool, a movie theater, an amazing food court, and a bowling alley).

On my way to work, and walking around town, I hardly see any other white people at all. But unlike in Rwanda, very few people stare at me or bother me by shouting “muzungu!” I wonder if Kenyan men are more polite, or if it’s just that we haven’t been to the more rugged parts of town yet.

Today was my third day interning at Kituo cha Sheria. The people there seem very friendly, and I hope I will make some good friends. I sit at a small desk/cubicle thing surrounded by several other student interns. Today we helped run a workshop on the plight of IDPs (internally displaced persons) in Kenya. Jamie and I start our work at the Refugee Consortium of Kenya on Monday. (Monday and Tuesday I’ll be at RCK, and then W/Th/F I’m at Kituo). On top of all this, we have this networking/long-term partnership project for Georgetown. In a very small nutshell, we’re to search for other people and organizations here working on peace, justice, and reconciliation and explore how Gtown might be able to assist in the future. We don’t want the 2012 elections to end up like the 2007 ones… It's going to be a busy, but hopefully productive 7 weeks!

That’s all for now. I sincerely hope this blog finds everyone well.



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