Just in case I'm giving the impression of it all being plain sailing out here in sunny Nairobi, I'll give a short update on what has been happening around our house in the last few weeks;
1) The gardener got sick. He went to the local clinic and was told he had Typhoid and Malaria and was given treatment. When we phoned him a couple of days later he said he still had headaches. We took him to our doctor then to hospital to run 'proper' malaria and typhoid tests. They came back completely clear. Our doctor helpfully prescribed headache pills and vitamins and I'm glad to say that he is now fully recovered (after 10 days).
2) Our housekeeper told me that she was being stalked by (from what I could make out) an old boyfriend. Apparently he has been troublesome since August but his threats were recently getting more frightening; 'I will pay my friends to spoil you...' he had said. We offered to help if we could but she courageously took the matter alone to the police. They called both our housekeeper and the stalker together and thrashed the matter out at a pre arranged meeting, giving each side a chance to give their side of the story. The police then decreed that if the man were to threaten Florence again, or if anyone else reported seeing this then it would become a police matter and he would be arrested. Miraculously this seems to have resolved the matter (fingers crossed).
It seems that even in Nairobi police are being called in to mediate over domestic matters in much the same way a village elder might have done.
3) Our ex-nightwatchman came and did some Christmas day guard cover as the gardener was off sick. It was good to see him, but he said he was just recovering from a nasty illness where his stomach blew up and made him look like he was pregnant. I was a little bemused by the appearance of a shiny new bicycle as (if you have read a few of these previous posts) he texts us each month and we duly pay him an allowance for; 'rent and food'. He lives in Kibera slum with his wife and son and campaigns for HIV and Aids awareness (you don't get paid for this).
4) A local mechanic friend of my husband was hijacked on a bus (matatu) on his way home just before Christmas on Thika Road. Armed bandits threw the bus driver out then took the vehicle into the bush with all the innocent passengers on board. They were all asked to hand over money and mobile phones. Sadly John had some money on him (it being Christmas). He tried to conceal it behind his back but then was banged on the head when one of the thugs spotted him. Sadly hijacking minibuses and mugging the passengers is a fairly common crime in Nairobi.
5) Another employee's brother was suddenly taken ill, so he had to take urgent leave and another loan just after we had paid him his 13th month salary.
6) Returning from the recently reopened Nairobi Museum (I would recommend anyone visit - it is well worth it) - and just around the corner from our house, my Mum and Dad (from UK) and I witnessed a man being knocked off his bike by a speeding public bus. The impact was so strong that I am fairly certain he was killed.
Fortunately the three children did not see the accident. I drove on when I saw the Kenya Bus stop quickly and the uniformed driver dash out to try to help the victim. I felt so sorry for everyone both the cyclist and the driver, but not sorry enough to try to help I'm afraid. I did try calling the local police when I got home but all the phone numbers I had for them were out of order.
7) the plug on my very overworked but brand new dishwasher burnt out.