12 February 2018

Trip to Eldoret: One café, two different sets of friends

Me and Amina at 'Icy and Spicy', a new café in Eldoret

I met Medina about two years ago on one of my visits to Robai's secondary school. The girls were cube-mates in one of the dormitories and had become close friends. In January 2017, I also met her mom, Amina, while we were doing school shopping for the new academic year. We kept seeing each other in various aisles of the supermarket... and each time we did so, it got funnier and funnier.

"We can't find the pencils and sharpeners. Do you know where they are?"

"Yes, they're over on that other side of the supermarket. But do you know where the shoe polish and laundry detergent are located?"

Robai and Medina

This January (2018), we intentionally met so we would for sure see one another again. Amina and Medina live in Marsabit, where it takes up to 18 hours by bus to reach Eldoret. They were tired from their long journey and we were cold, due to a sudden, heavy downpour that descended on Eldoret town while we waited for them. When the rain finally let up a bit, I walked to a nearby store to buy a blanket in an attempt to stay warm. One whole side of the café was wide open to attract customers, which of course let in the cold air.

We enjoyed a new spot called 'Icy and Spicy', where they had a special offer of chips (French fries) - in a variety of flavors - with a free small soda (pop). The girls were excited for the opportunity and it also gave Amina and I a chance to chat again.

On another day of school shopping (plus paying school fees), we met Agnes and Pope... at the very same café and enjoyed the very same offer! I had the garlic chips both times (yummy!), but everyone else had masala chips.

A few days later, as I waited for my early-morning flight, that spur-of-the-moment blanket purchase came in handy once again! The elevation at the airport is 6,900 feet; I live at 6,400 feet in Ngong town. Both places, as in all of Kenya's highlands, can be quite chilly in the mornings (around 50F). Additionally there's no climate control - including heat - in Kenya's buildings, primarily constructed with cement and stone... which can retain that cold temperature for hours.

With my new blanket and a hot cup of chai, I was at least comfortable.

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