Close to four weeks ago we went to Nairobi overnight without Grace and Noah. I needed some medical tests that couldn't be done in Dar (even though they were not invasive or unusual tests). Last week we received the good news that all results were normal and I am AOK :)
I have to say, though, that it was REALLY WEIRD being back in Nairobi. Since we left three years ago, so much has changed. They have built these enormous super-highway-fly-overs to divert traffic out of the city center. The Chinese had started these roads before we left but now that they are complete, wow. It gave Nairobi a whole new feeling of being a bit more modern and developed. Because we wanted to try out the new highways, we took the diversion to our hotel instead of going through town. We could see parts of Nairobi that we had never seen before, but it still took us an hour to get to our hotel. Had we gone through town, it would have taken 2 hours I'm sure. Unfortunately, traffic still seemed crazy. In and around the parts of Nairobi where we lived and where we were visiting (namely the hospital), there were just so many cars, so many people. In addition, there was just construction everywhere. We could see new malls, apartment building, office buildings, and hotels. Development everywhere. We went into one mall - one of our old stomping grounds, if you will - to get some medicine that I needed from a pharmacy, and were really surprised to see all of the new international brands they have there now. Both the mall and the hospital had also changed in terms of security. There was a very heavy feeling around us.
And really, when we lived there, I think I didn't realize how stressful it was! It was just what we were used to - part of our everyday life. But after being away, yikes. It was really stressful! Worrying about the traffic and security was quite a burden, and we were only there for 30 hours. Even though we had a good four years in Nairobi, it made us grateful to have gotten out when we did. Especially as we drove past the shadow of the Westgate Mall. There was an enormous pit in my stomach when I think about all of the hours we spent there.
One thing that was VERY impressive was the new airport! Wow! How I wish they had that airport finished when we lived there. It was so bright and clean and modern, compared to the old one which was dark and stuffy and dirty! I really enjoyed the 90 minutes we spent there and would not mind traveling through there again in the future.
Kristoffer especially enjoyed talking to our drivers to/from the airport. It was a little bit fun to show off our Kenyan knowledge a bit and ask some questions about the Kenya of today. We tested our memory trying to figure out how to get places from where we were. We did not drive by our house or anything like that...would have been too weird I think! And we only had the chance to see one friend (thank you, Colleen! That was a treat!). It was an odd throwback of sorts and made me realize that someday in the future...the FAR future...I think it will be really cool to bring our kids back to Nairobi and show Grace and Noah where their lives began. As much as it has changed these last three years, in the future Nairobi will be unrecognizable to us. Until then, we are still here in Dar. It was nice to come back to this place, which is comparatively slow and "quaint" and much more relaxed. What a trip!