01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: Commuters in Nairobi and the infamous Nairobi fly 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Commuters in Nairobi and the infamous Nairobi fly

I did the early school run this morning.  We left home at around 6.05am.  Admittedly, it's only the second time I've done this run (my husband normally goes) but now I'm filled with ideas over how to change the world for the better (of course).  Namely, high-visibility vests for pedestrians and cyclists.  I saw a couple of people wearing them today and they really are effective.

If I was a government/aid organisation and had a budget to save lives in Nairobi, this is what I'd invest in.  I might start with handing out high-viz vests to employees of private guarding firms (they are to-ing and fro-ing from their posts at dawn and dusk), then roll out to everyone else because these days I would guess that the majority of employees in Town are leaving home in the dark.  I think I'll pop down to Nakumatt and buy a few now

Once I was lambasted for suggesting that the sun in Kenya rises and sets quickly - apparently it was too crude a generalisation and was told that of course there are different kinds of dawn and dusk from region-to-region.  I stand corrected, but coming from England where dawn and dusk can drag on for hours, there is a marked difference here.  I left the house in pitch darkness this morning, when I arrived at my destination 20 minutes later, it was like someone had flicked up the blind.  My husband always says driving at dusk and dawn is dangerous because your eyes (retina) are switching from rods to cones at dawn - he always has the technical answer.

The good thing about getting on the road early is that the dreaded traffic is far better - an hour later and you are looking at the worst kind of gridlock (I saw the School bus with our youngest daugter inside it, inching along at an agonising pace when I was on my way back home).  The down side is that it is still dark and because there is less traffic, everyone is driving very fast.  Today there was a man wearing a navy fleece, manually pulling a very long and heavy piece of machinery (a tarmac roller?) across both lanes of Ngong Road in what he thought was a suitable gap in traffic.  I didn't see him until I was on top of him.  It was heart in mouth stuff as I jabbed at the dashboard to find the hazard lights.

When we got to school, my eldest refused to get out of the car. She had the internal light on and was reading her book. 
"It's so cold in the pool!" she said, "there's something wrong with the heating at the moment." 
I felt awful, but coaxed her out and said. "Well we're here now, you might as well swim."

However, when I got to the pool, I heard the coach say clearly,
"Hurry up, get changed everyone, in you get, the water is very warm!" 
I raised an eyebrow at my daughter who was now defiantly reading her book on the poolside stands and refusing to undress.

Perhaps part of the eldest's reluctance to swim can be attributed to her 'Nairobi Fly/eye' burn that appeared on her leg last Wednesday.  It's a lot better now, but the whole experience has been traumatic. 

Nairobi Fly/Nairobi Eye - commonly found after rains

Last week she came back from school complaining that she had got some sunburn on her leg.  I thought that this was odd, since when did you get a localised sunburn in a particular patch on the inside leg by the knee?  There was a small mark on her other leg too.  We slathered on some Sudocream, but the mark continued to get worse.  Soon she was limping, the area was hot.  By friday/saturday it looked like really quite a deep burn indented into the skin.  I felt bad for her but guessed it was a Nairobi Fly - if you crush them off your skin they secrete a nasty acid - if you spot one then it's best to blow it off -but often people encounter them without realising, then they get a burn.  We've seen so many around since the big rains in November.

This is not my daughter's burn, but you get the idea..
Typcial that it was this daughter who was the first in the family to get 'stung' by a Nairobi fly.  She still has a jellyfish scar on her neck from 3 years ago.  I hope this one isn't going to add to her collection.  You do hear of people getting Nairobi fly stings on the eye - now that's nasty.

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