Saturday, January 05, 2008

strange times

(january 4, 2008)

if this doesn’t get me a job in the future, i am not sure what will. you know the interview question about overcoming a challenge? i would say that this whole situation would answer that question quite clearly.

but it does seem that the city (at least my part of it) is getting back on its feet. the grocery store was packed (although many shelves were empty and the city seems to be out of tuna again!) and there were people walking their dogs and cars on the streets. even the obnoxious flower vendors and heartless puppy dog hawkers were back at it today and the bank machines were working, which is promising. the infamous pub where the incident of the peacock in the night took place was packed at 5 and i think that that is good. although i am not sure that i could handle so many people just yet.

i overheard the security meeting at work today (it was pretty much me and the people in the meeting in the building and one guy who i think was hanging out waiting from some action) and it is very interesting to learn how things like this are handled and what needs to be taken into consideration. toilet paper for the offices, for instance, is something i would not have thought of. or when families are evacuated and which staff are moved and when. not that we are near that yet, but it has to be discussed. emergency planning might be for me.

these are strange times. while trying to get used to life back in nairobi without the other half i have been lugging around for a number of months i have had to arrange luggage drop off, man the department, and try to keep an open mind about the future and what will come in the immediate and distant future. and all with an ear attached to the radio* and responding to all the emails asking if i am ok.

i am very much ok and am very far from any of the areas that are showing up in the news around the world. it seems as though the current solution most favourable to both parties is to have another election within 3 months’ time. i am not convinced this is a good idea as i believe the country will remain at a relative standstill while the second election campaign gets underway and it will be very difficult to deliver humanitarian aid to all the displaced persons and keep the violence at bay in addition to the entire process of planning and implementing an election. and i am not optimistic that a second election would produce very different results, which would inevitably be contested. maybe archbishop desmond tutu has a better idea.

interesting times, that is for sure.

our office has decided to stay closed all of next week and only those essential staff are to report to work. i don’t mind so much, it beats sitting at home or being bored to tears. i only miss having tv during times like these. a good time waster. i am devouring books with this extra time (and jet lag which lets me have about 3 hours of sleep during sleeping hours). might i recommend The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill? if you liked Roots, you will enjoy this one too. and there is something about strong female characters that pulls me right in and the perspective on slavery in the us, the american civil war, the exodus to nova scotia, and the designation of sierra leone as a new homeland for freed slaves is fasc-in-a-ting to me. i also recently read Empress Orchid by Anchee Min, which i would also recommend. another strong female character and the imagery of 18th century china is mesmerising.

* speaking of my new best friend, the bbc, they were interviewing some english football coach/player/manager about the number of africans on his team and he said that with the current amount he is comfortable but if there were any more, that might make him ‘uncomfortable.’ on the international news? really? he thinks that it is ok to say that on international news? wow. racism sucks.

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