Monday, October 8, 2012

First Impressions

October 4, 2012
Africa… just the name sounds exotic, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, the Dark Continent. Africa a place filled with wild beasts, strange tribes, unusual customs, and danger. Let me tell you about my first gew days.

I arrived on packed KLM 747 from Amsterdam, filled with anxious safari goers, hard to find an African aboard. At the airport, I zip through immigration, my luggage is there, and a young lady holding a sign with my name shows me to a car whose driver cuts across sold lines of cars where I enter a world of high walls, covered with thorny vegetation and topped with electrified wires or razor wire. This is the Runda Hills district of Nairobi where the diplomatic embassies and their employees live.

The house where I as well as two other volunteers live belongs to a Canadian diplomat and his wife. There are four bedrooms, five baths, beautifully appointed foyer. living room. dining room, and foyer. The kitchen has got every appliance a home could have except a dishwasher which is somewhat superfluous, seeing there is a full-time housekeeper who does our dishes and washes our clothes to fill time while the homeowners are away. Then there are the gardens filled with flowers, compost bin, diesel generator, vegetable garden and a fulltime gardener. We are three miles from the nearest grocery store and ten miles from the office, but then again there is a driver for that.

The house has twelve pages of instruction from the homeowners about the staff, fixtures, security system with the most pages about the care, feeding, and temperament of the two household “guard” dogs.

Although the grounds and house are lovely, there is a sense of isolation and remoteness about the place. The high walls, dogs, security patrols, alarm systems, and warning signs creates a sense of which doesn’t quite mess with the friendliness of the African I have met so for.
Driveway leading to front gate. Gate is locked from inside with a little slot to reach the lock behind. Razor wire graces the top.
One of house's two "Guard" dogs coming to greet and lick you.

Front Door
Rear wrap-around porch

Rear yard and some gardens



Upper level bedroom hall

No comments: