Tuesday afternoon: get call from Patrick with news that me and kids can report to hangar at 6 am Friday morning for flight back to Loki. So happy to have flight home. So not happy to consider 4.30 wake up call.
Wednesday: finish last of shopping, to prepare for next 3 months in Loki. finish last of 3 appointments for root canal. survey piles of things in transitional house, begin packing, just leaving one change of clothing per person. make last call to team members in Loki for their lists.
Thursday: finish what was left over on lists from yesterday's now second to last day of shopping. listen to comments from kids about how ready they are to return. although sitting at the mall, in relative coolness, enjoying my mocha milkshake, i have to agree. pick up blinds and curtain rods from Nakumatt. take first load of stuff to airport, drop it off at freight room. while watching our bags get weighed, apologize for amounts of luggage, promise we have brought most of it, tomorrow, flight day, will be easy. connect with Captain Dan, the AIM Air pilot who actually took us to Loki the very first time, and he graciously gives Mom and Bob a tour while I organize our stuff. Pick up extra cooler for fridge items. start to panic about amount of work left to do. start to panic about important items I'm sure I forgot.
Thursday evening: call trusted driver George to inform him of change of plans. he is just as happy as I am. Go to sleep with taxis, dogs barking, gates clanging, nightclubs thumping, and sirens blaring, gratefully thinking, last night in Nairobi!
Friday morning: return car to lender, unfortunately with dented bumper. (stupid Nairobi. of course its Nairobi's fault. not mine.) send kids outside to eat breakfast. upon hearing shrieks, run out to scare away this annoying creature. (I have turned a corner: monkeys are not cute; they are quite the hassle, messy, irritating, too intelligent, and potentially aggressive. ok, probably not the ones in Nairobi. Just the spoiled ones who eat out of the trash cans at the beach. And literally jump right up on the buffet tables. Or yes, jump right at you to grab the food out of your hands. Yes, it was a banana. But still. That's such a stereotype. People can eat bananas too. Stupid monkeys. Next time when I throw my shoe at you I won't miss.)
Friday 12 pm: head off to airport, with Caroline sitting on my lap. yes, this is how we do things in Nairobi. Please don't judge. 4 is old enough to be out of a carseat, right? (This is a relatively new development in the western world, anyways. Kids never used to sit in car seats for 8 years, did they?)
Friday 12.30 pm: unload another giant pile of luggage, carrying large sign proclaiming the Crisps and their sun dried tomatoes are high maintenance. just kidding. sign wasn't necessary. (in my defense, we had alot of important things in there. like UHT whipping cream. Uh huh.)
12:45 pm: after weighing items, pile everything back into cars for short trek down to departures terminal. send luggage through, turn around to hear a friendly voice. a man named Andrew, friend from Loki, will be traveling with us. Andrew works for our Christian radio station, and was down in Nairobi to get some of his equipment fixed. realize how good it feels to unexpectedly see someone from "home" in the crazy city of Nairobi. Meet a young Nuer woman, traveling with us to Loki, with her 2 yr old and 2 wk old, and then on to South Sudan.
1 pm: walk down to food stalls to get lunch for passengers, chapatis and sausages. ignore stares from the regulars surprised to see a white person. decide not to bring to their attention that not all white people are wealthy, and, just like everywhere else, airport food is expensive, and I have no desire to feed my family for $40 when I could do it for $5. Really, who would?
1:30 pm: share our food with our fellow AIM passengers, catch up with Andrew about Loki, help Caroline hold the brand new baby, while observing the toddler who has no snacks, no iPad or devices of any kind, or toys of any kind, who is not making a single peep, just sitting still for 2 hours. (and who won't make a single peep the entire flight.) Also observe the other travelers, a load of tourists heading to the coast. contemplate the different faces of Kenya, and feel grateful for the one I see, for better or for worse. At least it's real.
2:30 pm: get ready to board, and of course its only the high maintenance white folks who run back for a last bathroom stop. Just as it was only the high maintenance white folks who needed food. Take off and watch Nairobi fade away.