November 24th, 2011

June 14th
We are continuing our exit from this country.  As stated yesterday we flew from Kakamega to Nairobi and today we fly out of Nairobi back to the states.  But first, we have a full day planned.

Today we got to go to the Parliament building and meet with a few officials (Millie and Wilberforce).  This is really more Valerie and Richard’s thing but they let us tag along.  🙂  We initially arrived at the parliament building and eventually found a place to park outside the area as they have no real “guest” parking for visitors.  We then proceeded to wait and wait in in the parking lot for at least an hour, I don’t know how long as I didn’t have a clock with me; but it was a long time in midday sun.  No shade and they wouldn’t let us in without a Member of Parliament’s Personal Assistant; preferably Millie’s assistant as she was who we were meeting.  Eventually it came through that there was a mix up and we just weren’t in the schedule for that morning.

After waiting long enough, we decided to try to see if the 2nd appointment with Wilberforce could receive us a bit early as we were already there and the first appointment didn’t pan out so well.  So in that process (which was somewhat complicated with sending messages back and forth) we found out that we had the appointments backwards.  We were actually very late for what was our 1st appointment with Wilberforce and our appointment with Millie wasn’t until the afternoon.  Oh dear.  Luckily, Wilberforce is a gracious gentleman and gave us some of his time despite having a full schedule and other commitments.  My impression of Wilberforce is that he is a genuine gentleman, nice, good dreams for what he can do.  That being said, he is also new to the office.  My hope is that he will stick with his guns and not bend and/or break like most politicians due in their political career.  Big dreams can often turn sour.  Wilberforce, I hope to God you keep your foundation!

We then left the Parliamentary building for awhile to find some sustenance and wait until our scheduled appointment with Millie.  We found a nice, neighboring restaurant where everyone essentially ordered the same thing; chicken (kuku) and chips.  I had kuku and chapati but it’s similar enough (fried tortillas instead of fries).

At the appointed time we headed over to the Parliament again to meet with Millie.  Her assistant came down to meet us and informed us that Millie would love for us to join her for lunch.  Doh!  Well, so as not to insult we graciously accepted and prepared ourselves to eat another full meal.  This was a fun experience as we got to eat in the MP “lunch room”.  Which is basically a 5 star restaurant (5 star in Kenya).  We waited for about 45 minutes at the table, not eating or ordering anything.  Valerie or Richard (I don’t remember who) was texting Millie’s assistant and she was keeping us somewhat up to date.  We weren’t quite sure what was going on at this point truthfully.  Eventually Millie’s assistant told us to go ahead and order food as Millie wouldn’t be eating with us.  So we ordered our grub, ate it and waited a bit longer.  Heather and I ordered the “Meat on bones” which was some weird translated name but it sounded good to us!  It was tasty, and it was meat on bones; with large arteries and everything.  Yowza.

Overall we waited about 1.5 hours at the table before heading up to meet Millie.  We met her in a private office.  I don’t know who normally worked in that office but it wasn’t Millie.  Either way we all stuffed in to the office and she came in a few minutes later.  She was a pleasant enough gal though some of her priorities seem a bit off.  One of her big things is that she’s setting up a conference to discuss the amount of time teenagers are spending on facebook.  Shoot, if those teens come from a rich enough family to afford the internet time necessary to sustain facebook I’d worry about something else.  Like the large slums just outside the city.  Sigh, politicians do tend to reside in their own warped world.  Hence my comments above about Wilburforce, let’s hope he keeps himself out in the real world.  Not to drag on Millie however, I’m pretty sure she is one of the better Members of Parliament as she did seem to care and spent a lot of time dealing with some of the female issues in Kenya.  But flack was deserved for the facebook thing.

After that we headed headed over to Juliette’s house for a feast!  It was supposed to be a light dinner but she prepared the Kenyan equivalent of thanksgiving.  It was fantastic, corn, chapapti, chicken, beef, mandazi, mango, samosas.  Yum.  Now Juliette, she is a good woman.  A widow who has done many great things with her lot in life.  She isn’t poor by Kenyan standards, keeps a nice standard of living but rather than isolating herself she keeps herself managing ~500 orphans and works on placing them in homes.  An emotionally tasking job to be sure. 

Juliette also works with a lot of gals on setting up their own businesses or things they can do to make a living.  One of the gals living with her (or visiting, not sure which) brought out some of her stuff to share.  She is an excellent seamstress and made a good array of dresses and shirts.  Heather found a really cute shirt but sadly it didn’t quite fit.  Teresa found a nice dress and purchased that one. 

After that we said our goodbyes and headed to the Nairobi Airport.  All is well that ends well.  Until next time!