This week involved trips to pediatric HIV clinics across the western portion of Kenya, requiring 6-8 hours in the car a day and leaving me pretty exhausted. At the moment, I’m too tired to write about the good work our teams are doing or the sick kids we are taking care of, and so here’s a Friday list reflecting on life in the car in Kenya.
1. I swear more while driving in Kenya than during any other activity. When I have my team in the car, I try to do this silently.
2. My greatest asset for Kenya fieldwork may well be the fact that I don’t get motion sickness. Working on my computer in the car can still be a challenge when the laptop is bouncing off my lap every 20 feet.
3. My greatest weakness for Kenya fieldwork is likely my walnut-sized bladder. I have learned to identify roadside locations with just enough shrubbery.
4. The aggressiveness of my driving appears to increase with every 30 minute interval on the road. As the time goes by, I become a more fearless passer on narrow roads and uphill climbs. Some would say this is fueled by rage; I like to think I am adapting to my surroundings.
5. Often, while driving in this country, I imagine myself in a driving videogame with myriad obstacles. I am now very good at such games.
6. The traffic and parting police in town have absolutely no concern for the fact that you have parked illegally on the sidewalk in something that could never be construed as a legitimate parking spot. On the other hand, they are keenly concerned about whether you paid your dollar for the daily parking permit.
7. Driving in Kenya is done best with a zen-like balance between thinking one might die at any moment and thinking that death is impossible.