Monday, February 4, 2008

February 4, 2008 - Football and Theater

Hello hello!

I write my blog this morning a little bit sleepier than usual. Why, you ask? Well, the Superbowl of course! Christine, Kristoffer and I decided that not being in America was no excuse for missing out on watching the Superbowl live, especially since for most of Kristoffer's life he has been staying up really late to watch it live in Denmark. We all went to sleep sometime between 8pm and 10pm last night, and then we all woke up together at 2am this morning to watch the game on ESPN. We prepared ourselves to be very tired during the day.

Our plan was working great and we started to watch all the background stories at the beginning of the broadcast...when our power went out! This weekend we had more and longer power outages in our apartment than ever before, but during the Superbowl at 2am it is really inconvenient. So we waited and waited, pretending to be Jordin Sparks singing the national anthem and also playing a fun-filled round of "Name That TV Show Theme Song". By 3am the power was still on and we were falling asleep so we went to bed. The power threatened to come on a few times in the next hour and finally did so at 4am, just as Alicia Keyes was starting to play the piano (and before she started lip synching in those awful pants)!

We were so happy to have power and to be able to watch the second half of the game, sending all of our good energy to the Patriots. Well you know how much our Kenyan energy did for the Pats, and I went back to sleep for a bit at 6:10 this morning feeling sad and disappointed for the team (sorry Giants fans, I know you are thrilled!). Kristoffer hopped in the shower and headed off to work at 7am and Christine snuck in a few minutes of rest before she had to get ready for work too. What a night!

The rest of our weekend had some comical moments as well, although the violence in the western part of the country has not improved. The Peace Plan, which Kofi Annan brokered between the government and ODM on Friday, has not stopped the death toll from rising or the two opposing leaders from verbally attacking one another. The problem, in my opinion, is that the violence has become about so much more than the election controversy that it is going to take a lot more than a signed Peace Plan to stop the domino effect that is well in effect. Raila Odinga has publicly asked for international peace-keeping forces to stop the violence because neither the police nor the military (which has not been deployed at all throughout this saga) are neutral. I tend to agree with him and wonder how many more people must die or how many more homes, churches and schools must be burned before a new tactic is used to stop the perpetrators.

This weekend in Nairobi, however, things were very calm. Christine and I took in a movie - Atonement, based on one of my favorite novels - which was absolutely brilliant. We also tried to go to the Kenyan National Theater for a production called "Actors for Peace", with proceeds benefiting the Red Cross in Kenya. When I say we "tried" to go to the theater, I mean that we did succeed in physically getting there but we did not succeed in actually watching the show. There was a 2pm performance and a 4pm one, and we arrived around 3:30pm for the second show. We were early because traffic is completely unpredictable here. We waited around until 4:00pm, having a drink at the cafe there and listening to a fantastic men's singing group practicing outside the music conservatory. At 4:00, the first show was still not over! We heard that it had started late and, in fact, it wasn't over until about 4:20. By this time, our patience was waning because we hadn't eaten lunch yet! At 4:30 we finally went in and sat in the theater, but there were no signs that the show would start soon and the theater was almost empty. I decided we would leave at 4:45 if the show hadn't started...and, in fact, we waited until 5pm before we walked out with the theater now actually filling up.

In hindsight, we forgot that African time is not punctual at all, but we still couldn't believe that everyone else knew not to show up until 5pm - 1 hour late! It was an interesting venture in people watching, but we were grumpy and hungry and just couldn't wait any longer. One our way out to the car, a couple of people associated with the show stopped Kristoffer to ask him why we were leaving. He explained that we were used to things starting on time and that we were going to be late for another obligation (dinner!) if we stayed. It was a little awkward, but when we got home and devoured our leftovers from dinner the night before in an Italian restaurant, we were very happy with our decision.

My back has been getting stronger, although last night I had a bit of set back so I really just have to be extremely careful how I sit, lay, and move. I am ready to get to work with UNICEF and am just waiting on some paperwork to process before I can start.


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