In July, 2008, I, Princess Rachella, Intrepid African American Girl International Journalism Consultant, pulled up stakes once again and headed to Nairobi, Kenya. Through my various adventures, I've concluded that if I get any MORE explosively fabulous in these prequel years to "THE BIG 5-0," I will have to register myself with the Pentagon as a thermonuclear incendiary device.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
...the longer you live in Sub-Saharan Africa, the more you wonder why anyone would willingly subject themselves to living in a snowy climate. I mean, some people simply never have to deal with it, and generally speaking, they're just fine with that.
First, unless said airport is in a Third World war zone, somebody has already done all the decorating for you…all you gotta do is go, "Oooh!" and "Ahhhh!" The downside is that you’ll pay 25 bucks for some weak-assed cappuccino and a cinnamon roll, but at least it’s Christmas.
Second, it’s such a pleasant window into a less crazed way to live one’s life. I can actually hear myself think in Schipol Airport today. So far, not a single person has bumped into me with a luggage trolley. There’s no need to rush to the gate, because like the flight from Nairobi to Amsterdam, the plane probably won’t be full.
Some things never change though. Every now and then, the blood curdling, nerve shattering squeals of a hungry, sleep-deprived infant or toddler remind you of where you are. But for a single female traveler with no children, even that is a gift. It reminds you that no matter how worn out you might be from your journey, at least you don’t have to deal with THAT bullshit.
In fact, I spent a few minutes’ extended reverie considering the pluses of being unattached with no family obligations on Christmas Day. First, I didn’t have to spend the past week cooking, cleaning, shopping and wrapping. Most mothers are so exhausted by Christmas morning, the thought of serving dinner later in the day is lodged in their brain like a lump of coal. Fathers may be game helpers, but they’re also wondering how the hell they’re gonna pay those credit card bills come January.
And that’s if they’re even still married to each other. If not, Christmas is more a day of recriminations that celebrations. After the protracted battle about who gets the kids on which holiday, and what time they need to be returned home, and how much did he spend on HIS kids versus that other bitch’s kids, a parent might be pardoned for feeling less than merry.
Yep, I was really feeling mighty smug for a minute there! Bought some $35 Chanel mascara and thought, “Shopping for myself is so freakin’ stress free!” But seconds later, a bow-legged toddler in a fuschia onesie stumbled across my path. She had a short, curly 'fro and skin the color of Crème Caramel Bailey’s Irish liquor. She was probably Sudanese, or Ethiopian, or Somali. Whatever she was, she was so precious, I SERIOUSLY could have done a bid for shoving her into my carry-on bag.
This cherub had taken it upon herself to toddle away from her mother in search of her errant big sister, In that squeaky, half-duck, half Munchkin voice that people under age 3 have perfected so well, this little girl stood directly in my path, her little brow knitted and her arms extended, and cried, “Ha-DEEE-ja! Ha-DEEE-ja!” And she kept yelling and gesturing until Hadija bopped over from wherever she’d been roaming, her long curls flopping wildly.
All of a sudden, I got it. THAT’S why you’d work yourself to exhaustion and go into debt and link every beat of your heart to someone or something other than yourself. That’s what makes the Christmas Crazies worth it.
Still, I’m thoroughly enjoying sitting here drinking my weak-assed cappuccino and watching the Christmas snowfall at Schiphol airport on Christmas Day, 2009. Maybe one day, I’ll even have a reason to make sure I’m NOT in an airport on Christmas morning. Until then, this feels right.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
"Twas the night before Christmas, and here's what I say,
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Like it didn't take every second of my 48 years on Earth to come to terms with, and move on from, growing up under American Apartheid, now I gotta deal with the emergence of the KKK on yet another continent! And even though in this case the K's stand for "Kikuyu, Kalenjin, and Kamba," trust me, this alliance is just as fucked as the other one.
Speaking of K's,
"KLM, take me away......"
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
It's been sitting in this bag on one of my dining room chairs since mid-November, when my friend Kelly brought it over from New York. She has ferried over literal suitcases full of books and clothes and dolls and balls and crayons and markers and games and stuffed animals for the kids during her recent Nairobi trips. Kelly feels it's the very least she can do for the kids of the Maai Mahiu IDP Camp.
Now THERE'S a name you haven't heard in ages!! That's because I haven't written about, or visited Maai Mahiu in ages. Once a flurry of work-related travel kicked in a few months ago, it's been too easy to let myself fall into a pattern of postponement and procrastination about getting back to the school. Plus it seemed like every time I came close to getting my act together and actually going, something else came up to keep me stuck in Nairobi.
Every day I walked past this bag of toys and thought, "Damn, Kelly sure cares about the Maai Mahiu kids more than I do!!!! I bet they would really love playing with some of this stuff." Meanwhile, the every day stresses of life in Nairobi have left me resembling this googly-eyed cow a bit more than I care to admit.
I'm definitely battered and lightly fried these days, dear readers. Feeling scattered and about a quart low on my usual zest and pluck. And so I will be taking a break from my Sub-Saharan Sojourn starting on Christmas Eve, when I will wing my way to New York City and DC for a few weeks.
Meanwhile, please rest assured that by the time you read this post, this Krazy Kow will have arrived at the PCEA Muniu School, where a holiday party took place today. Since it kinda looks like I do these days, it'll have to stand in for me. The school has been closed for a few weeks now, but thanks to your generous donations over recent months, the local sponsors have been able to keep serving lunches during the break. I won't hit y'all up for more support during the holidays, but once I finally get my butt in gear and make time for a trip to the school next month, to see where things stand with the lunch program, I may just call on you for help once more.
After all, your support has been udderly invaluable! HAH!