All that could go wrong two days before leaving for Kenya

Dear friends, family, colleagues,
You may have wondered where I was in the last two days. You may have sent a message that found no reply, or made a call that went missing. Also, you may have wished to meet me before my departure.
I am so sorry that I have been missing so much.
On Friday, after writing my last post in the blog; when I was finally peaceful and sorted, and alone in the house; when I was finally breathing sure that everything was packed and these two months of preparation ready to become reality; I got a message from Kenya.
President Kenyatta, in light of a new spike on Covid cases, was locking down the capital and 4 other county. No one in or out Nairobi by rail, plane or car. He was also tightening the restrictions in all Kenya, closing schools and restaurants.
Nothing new, you would say. Nothing unexpected, you could argue.
The point is that I was so naive not to expect that at all. After being back in the UK, I was so focused on the task of preparing everything for my trip that not once, not even once I thought I could be stopped again. I wrote this many times also here, in this blog, that "nothing could go wrong anymore" and that "finally I am going". If you have followed a bit me and my blog, you know that this Kenya trip was meant to happen in September 2020. I waited so much, and hoped so much. I thought I had faced all the possible hassles. I thought I had experienced all the possible obstacles. But Life does surprise us, always!
When I got this new from Kenya I just couldn't accept it. I was due to fly in 2 days. I had my PCR test scheduled in half an hour. I was just saying bye to everyone. No clothes left in the house. All packed. Especially, I was meant to land in Nairobi and stay some days there before moving to my final destination,  Eldoret, with an internal flight.
I start fidgeting around, trying to find news in the web. The news was so recent that websites were just updating their homepages and there was a moment of time/not-time, in which everything stopped and nothing was moving. I couldn't understand what was actually happening, but I felt ahead of time when, waiting for clarification, I was receiving confirmation that the sad news was true.
But no one, in all that mess, could understand the details of this new lockdown.
For example, if the decree was with immediate effect or to be enforced after few days; if internal flights would have continued to operate or not. If I could risk to be trapped in Nairobi for months.
I called my colleagues, and supervisors. At the beginning we were minimising, and hypothesising that if I would have been trap in Nairobi, I could do some stuff there. Then realism left space for desperation: what could I be doing in a locked down city? Also, for how many months could the lockdown last?
Supervisors from Kenya suggested to postpone the trip. I already said, I couldn't accept that. I genuinely started shouting random plans at people, like that I would travel to Kampala, in Uganda, and then crossing the border. Or flying to Antibe! Ehehe
Everyone was so understanding though. Maybe I scared people once more time!
But I think that also my team was not realising nor accepting that this could happen. We called literally EVERYONE (airlines, embassies, ministries of Health): not really because it was useful - indeed, no one could really help - but because we thought we couldn't just stay still and calm and wait.
At the end of a ridiculous afternoon of calls, when I should have been enjoying the last days in the UK and that bit of sun that was finally enlightening the spring, the only option viable appeared to be flying to Mombasa and from Mombasa to Eldoret. Easy, you would say. But not really. It would have meant to reorganize everything, to book new flights, to get a new visa. Especially, to postpone everything of at least a week. But fine then, what to do?
I was lieing in bed, just willing to forget that crap of a day.
But when everything seemed to be lost, my supervisor, an angel of a man, calls me (again: call number 25 of the day, probably).
He says that they have announced a travel window,  and that internal flights will continue to operate until Monday 29th at midday. I move out of the bed, grab the laptop. I can process that what he is talking about is my ONLY hope to get there. But somehow I cant process what I need to do. From the other end of the phone, my supervisor instructs me, always calm, never losing his temper. He says to look up flights Nairobi-Eldoret for Monday. In all these, and for the records when these days will be just numbers in the flowing moving of time, this all was happening on the 26th of March. I was due to fly on the 28th and to land in Nairobi on the Monday of the 29th. At 6am.
Now, you could argue that this all new lockdown was coming for me in the worst timing ever. Why not 2 days after? Why not 2 days before?
What I argue is that the timing was actually a blessing, and that I am a very lucky lady.

We look up flight and they were all sold out. Everyone was probably trying to get out of Nairobi before Monday 12pm.
We find a flight for Kisumu (2 h from Eldoret) at 9am. Book it. Breath. Laught at it. I also had a little cry. After all the panick of the day, everything was unexpectedly sorted. Everyone starts congratulating and saying that "I am a very lucky lady".
People, I was hangover as crap yesterday, and pulling and pushing things out of the luggage all day. Especially, I was laughing a lot, everything was back on track and I could still going!

But Friday, Friday was a very inspiring day. It taught me a lot. It made me realise that you could be as organised as you want, but the unforeseen happens, always, and it's all about how you react to it. It taught me not to be naive. It taught me resilience, hope, temper and it showed me the relief you can get from a cry. Once more, it showed me how lucky I am to have wonderful people around and that my University is unique, together with the people that are working there.
Friday minimised all the small problems I had before regarding this trip. It made me more easy going, more "it will be what it will be" (sarĂ  quel che sarĂ ...!). It reset me to the bare minimum. I am not thinking that I am going, I have no time to panick. I am just going, however, whatever!
Friday took the best and the worst out of me.
The best, because I am proud of how I kept kinda calm and rational. The worst, well, maybe not yet....

Now you cold argue that I am crazy, who would want to go to a country that has just gone into lockdown? Who would want to risk to be trapped in Nairobi? Who would want to move anyway anyway anyway?
Well, I may be unwise, and unrealistic.  And also arrogant and probably stubborn like a donkey. But I needed to follow my feelings and I knew that I couldn't cope with another delay. So, it will be what it will be, but in Kenya.

I am trying to tell this story from the plane to Dubai. It is so peaceful up here. I will transfer in Dubai, arrive in Nairobi at 6am tomorrow and immediately get out of the city before midday. If I make it, it's probably a miracle. I have only 6 hours gap. I am still not religious, but if I arrive in Eldoret safe and sound, I am genuinely gonna kiss the Kenyan  soil.
From there, I am not sure. I may arrive and being unable to do anything. I may be stuck there. So many things can happen. But, will see, wont we?

Keep u posted but you, you stay tuned ;-)


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