Have you ever seen one of those Dutch Old Master paintings. They are often dark and might perhaps depict a lady sewing by the light of a candle? You may think, poor her – how can she possibly see anything by the light of that one candle? How times have changed. But here, in 2013,so life is in Nairobi! It’s raining, ergo no power. In our household, we actually get by quite well with only one or two candles. Our eyes get accustomed to darkness quickly and are happy to feel our way around the house; the kids don’t seem to get freaked out. We could probably be better organised with solar lights and torches – but I don’t like planning for power cuts. We would all much rather that they didn’t happen.
Last weekend, we had no power for 4 days (a 10 year record for us). The good news was that fortunately, for 3 of those days – we weren’t home (otherwise I would have been going demented). A very dear friend popped over each day to run our tiny generator for a few hours to keep the fridge going. I still had to throw out my frozen shellfish mix that I was hoping to make into a seafood chowder one day. It just wasn’t worth the risk!
Last Friday, we packed the car (x5 bikes and 3 mattresses plus food and water) and set off merrily for Naivasha, waving goodbye like Swiss Family Robinson. Little did we know that the mother of all storms was about to hit our suburb – it’s epicentre seems to have hit our road. Within hours, eleven trees in our neighbour’s plot fell (though this says something about the size of their garden). Major branches fell off trees in our garden causing great alarm. One very large branch managed to fall squarely on top of one of our washing line poles – stoving it clean into the ground so that only the top T-section was visible. I guess it must have been terrifying to have been here. Trees fell this way and that, rendering the whole street impassable. Imagine the ‘twister’ in the Wizard of Oz (or to be a little more up to date; Oz the Great and Powerful) – these are the kind of storms we have been having here!
The rain has been unbelievable, even by long rains standards here. So far, 30 people have died in Kenya due to flooding and landslides and thousands displaced from their homes.