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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A friend in Nairobi, city of contrasts

After lots of delays we finally made it to Kenya.  It’s great to be back but always takes some adjustment.  Nairobi is a very populous city where more and more people are buying cars and the roads have not kept up with the increase in traffic.  More and more office buildings and apartment complexes are being built.  It would seem that this would be a good sign that the economy is doing well but it seems it is mostly making the rich richer.  The lower economic classes have not benefited that much though I think more people are moving into the lower middle classes. 

We went to visit our good friend Michael.  His story is very interesting and is a good example of the challenges that life can pose here.  He was working for the City Council doing roadwork for some 15 years and then got let go for no good reason.  He is in court now trying to get a settlement and I hope he gets it because he deserves it.  Meanwhile he is surviving with some short term roadwork contracts so life is not easy for his family.  He invited us for lunch  on Sunday.  It was great to see his family. His two older children are our namesakes.  Then he took in his sister’s two boys when she died of HIV.  Then his wife died of diabetes complications.  He remarried because he needed a mother for the children.  She brought a son the family.  Then she and Michael have just had a baby boy who is now 1 year old.   So in a years that we have known him his family has grown to include 6 children.  The oldest daughter from his first wife also suffers from juvenile diabetes.  Recently she has become the poster child on TV and radio to talk about living with diabetes.  Though all of this Michael has kept a very good spirit and outlook on life, making sure his children get a good education and get the care they need.  He was also lucky to marry a woman who loves his children like her own.  I have great admiration for Michael and his family. 

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