Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cat Hawley Post #4: Things Megan Has Not Told You About Her Life in Kenya

1. Everyone drives with their brights on at night. No one turns down the high beams for oncoming traffic. This is particularly confounding to me because another thing you notice in Nairobi are numerous driving school vehicles. It seems a number of people are attending driving school but what they are learning is a bit of a mystery.

2. “Flash me” is commonly said but it doesn’t mean “show me some
flesh”. It has a different connotation and basically means “ring me
and hang up.” The cell phone system is different than in the States;
you don’t buy a plan, instead you purchase credit. So if you know you
are low on credit this comes in handy and you flash your friend and
they call you back (you can receive calls if you are out of credit but
you can’t make outgoing calls). The credit phenomenon creates a
culture of hanging up with out saying goodbye (your credit is by the
second). Sometimes someone will call, get and answer to their
question and hang up. It can be baffling and seem rude when you are
accustomed to western communication norms.

3. Short ties are laughably short. Driving around the central
business district one will notice respectably dressed men in suits
with their tie extending no lower than 4th button of their shirt, in
other words embarrassingly short. It is unclear to Megan and myself
how such a fashion “no no” was ever introduced, propagated and

4. Swahili is a melodious language. It is absolutely captivating to listen to even if your vocabulary is limited to phrases from The Lion
King. Lala Salam means good night and there seems to be an
onomatopoetic sensation communicated by its sound.

5. Weather on the equator is not necessarily sweltering.

6. Megan knows her mechanic intimately. He meets her at home and at school or where ever she has car trouble. She trusts him with her life in a fairly literal sense (see numbers 7 and 8). So when she
noticed what seemed to be yellow liquid leaking from her front tires
she called him. He asked her if she had a dog. She said yes. He
didn’t charge her.

7. Car accidents are rampant. We saw three in one day (not including
minor fender benders.)

8. Drinking and driving is common practice.

9. Littering is common practice.

1 comment:

Katie in Kenya said...

haha so good. and ALL SO TRUE. #6. Megan seriously!? Leo loves peeing on tires, you know they're his favorite place :) miss you