Flo Carson

Flo Carson - Social Anthropologist, studying International Development at Sciences Po, Paris. I am slightly obsessed by gender, politics, media, human rights and global health. I've worked in Asia, Africa and Europe and keen to explore more of the world we live in. Take a look at my Twitter & Tumblr for my most recent posts. tly

Monday, 11 November 2013

Did you hear about the groom that had an antenna stuck in his leg? He was late for his wedding ceremony, but the reception was great.

This morning was not a good morning.

It started well enough. I woke up before my alarm to find only 4 new mosquito bites. I was ready to get the two usual Matatus to The Action Foundation's office in Kenyatta Market. However, as I stood by the side of the road asking each conductor the destination of their buses, they either waved me away or expected me to pay 30p instead of the usual 7p which I adamantly refused. Each Matatu that slowed down by me was filled to the brim or going the wrong way. I waited about 30 minutes and was eventually forced to change my plans and board a bus instead. The conductor nodded to my destination and price and directed me up onto the bus.

After about 15 minutes of taking a completely unfamiliar route, a man behind me strangely, ran his fingers over my head, grabbed my hair and said 'Your stop'. Somewhat gratefully, I turned, thanked him and manoeuvred off the moving vehicle.  The conductor pointed straight down a highway, and I followed the direction of his fingers, to further unrecognisable lands. At this point, 5 minutes before I was meant to start work I called Maria to let her know of my unknown location, but fittingly with the rest of my morning, I heard two beeps, indicating my phone was out of credit. I continued to walk, hopefully, my black converse turning brown with muddy substances.

I reached another matatu stage, and desperately asked each and every conductor for advice or help. None of them cared and if they bothered listening to my query they would abstractly wave me off elsewhere yet again. Eventually I resorted to following my gut and walking away from the traffic and towards a large looming building in the distance which could potentially be where I wanted to go. I came across a sign that said hospital and assumed this was hopeful, but this involved walking on the side of a road, for 35 minutes, in something that cannot be described as anything other than a trench of mud, rock and disease.  

Maria rang me again to check on me, I said I was hopeful that I would make it there soon, but that I had no real idea where I was. As we spoke, a young woman dressed smartly with a fashionable hair style walked towards me and I asked her to talk to Maria. The woman, Brenda, who I learnt was a Med Student in Kenya was friendly, sweet and incredibly helpful. After speaking to Maria, she hung up and vowed to take me wherever I needed to be. When I told her I was from London, she squirmed with excitement 'You're a Brit abroad! I need to text my friends!'. She walked with me all the way back where I had come from and through the hospital centre, describing her everyday student life and the fact that she had seen a man with an axe stuck in his head that very morning. Once we got through to the other side of the hospital we were slowed down by queues of people with various ailments waiting to enter, however one man presence unavoidable, and was a sight that I will probably never forget. He stood on crutches, talking casually to a taxi driver. But as I looked down to his calf I squeaked 'Oh my!', inside his leg, completely and totally embedded was a radio antennae or television aerial, whatever it was, was making his limb appear bionic and robotic, with blood seeping out of every indentation.

After that I said my goodbyes to Brenda, hopped onto a Matatu where I was only overcharged by 7p and reached Kenyatta market to find that there was no electricity in the area and that I should work from home today.

Happy monday.  

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