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October 22, 2005

There's just been too much going on to get much reflection done. What little there has been has been handwritten and not yet made into anything suitable for a genteel public. And now that we're in Nairobi, the excitement level has been boosted to an entirely new dimension.

I got sidetracked almost immediately by Fatuma, better known to her siblings and parents as Tooney. She is John’s littlest one and, as you may notice, if you can take your eyes off her partner, is something of a dancer. I had a movie, but still couldn't get it to work, so that will have to be later.

While we're at it, I'll introduce you to the rest of John's family. You should've already met Tooney, but she's awful cute, so here's another picture of her. She's six and is looking for about 4 of her front teeth.
Working up the age ladder, Mohamud is eight.
Ahmed is ten.
Suad is twelve.
Shukri is fourteen.
And Mohammed is sixteen.
More details later. I will include a picture of Zahra later, too, but so far I haven't been able to do her photographic justice. She is a jewel.

Just a couple of quick comments on life in Nairobi, because we're about to leave the metropolis for a trip to the Masai Mara and I didn't want to go any longer without getting some sort of report off to my patient readers.

First, it is not unusual to see soldiers or police strolling the streets with rifles slung over their shoulders. I have not felt secure enough to take pictures of any of them.

Every compound of any size has a security person manning a gate. For some reason this does not make me feel particularly secure. This compound and many others are "secured" by a company called "Ultimate Security Limited," whose signs are posted outside the compounds they serve. They don't seem to be aware of the irony in their name.

Second, the main public transit system is a free trade arrangement based on minibuses called matatus, that are innovatively painted and named and run more or less fixed routes as decided upon by their drivers. They could be the subject of a whole photographic essay, if not a book, but the only shots I have gotten of them so far are from inside John's car. It's actually dangerous in some areas to roll down the window, let alone get out and wander around.

On the other hand, where could you get an offer like this to "Be Da Man Wid Da Bass"?
Or see the skyline of a huge city behind a herd of wildebeest, zebra and ostriches? Even if it is on a cloudy grey day?
And you can't buy a pushmepullyou like this one.

Anywhere but Nairobi.