Kit and Lara have three boys, all born in Nairobi.
Simba, the baby, is used to being slung in his car seat for eight hours at a stretch whilst the family set out on safari or to catch up with old friends up country. When he was new born, they put a couple of oranges on either side of his head, to stop it wobbling and bouncing over the potholes. His ayah is always near at hand and he loves to be carried in a kanga on her back around and around the garden. In fact this is nearly the only way that he can be coaxed off to sleep during day time naps.
Batian, the middle brother is eight years old and goes to Banda School. He never wears shoes and appears not to mind running over gravel or thorny ground barefoot. Even when visiting the local shops, he cannot be coaxed into slipping on a pair of flip flops, so his feet are always filthy dirty. His unkempt longish hair is sandy in colour, he has a year round tan and seems to be cursed with owning only clothes that are either far too large, or far too small. Generally he wears a worn in t-shirt and shorts when not in his school uniform which is a variation on the same. He has long since abandoned his child’s car seat and prefers to ride loose, bouncing around in the back of the Range Rover with the old jerry cans and high lift jack. Batian is extremely polite and greets his parents’ grown up friends with unaffected ease. He is used to mucking in to any situation, is gregarious, loves sports and is considered an easy child.
Kieran is just thirteen years old and gangly tall. He has been able to drive a car since he was eleven. His dress sense differs little from that of his brother, but he prefers proper Surfing designer labels (Billabong, RipCurl etc) on his shorts and t-shirts, and often has an old striped kikoy slung nonchalantly around his neck. This is a critical year for him, as he is faced with common entrance and a fistful of scholarship exams that his parents are willing him to succeed in when he sits them in June. His future of commuting by air from Kenya to a UK public secondary school depends on it. Over the past few months, his mother, Lara, has been busy sending off copious letters to British public schools appealing for bursaries and allowances, explaining that her child is a unique product of Kenya and has so much more to offer than his indoors-y, ‘Play Station’ obsessed piers in England.
Kieran takes the pressure all in his stride, spending weekends at Motor Cross amongst friends and doing as little homework as possible. Weekend evenings are spent at ‘Black Cotton’ disco or ‘The Carnivore’ and the driver will patiently wait in the car park and take him home safely by midnight. Kieran is fortunate to have immense charm on his side, which always wins his mother over in family arguments. His ambition is to join his father in the family owned safari business that takes small groups of American tourists on exclusive trips out into the bush. Perhaps one day he will take the business over, future foreign office travel bans to Kenya and the political situation permitting.