This day was a year in the making, and it was worth the wait.
Posts tagged ‘Ambo’
D’s co-workers had been clamoring to meet him, so today S brought Munchkin into the Embassy and then to the Hail & Farewell – the first of what promises to be a busy transfer season. Along with all the new staff that joined the Mission recently, Munchkin also received an official welcome from the Ambassador, though he was too busy slurping down milk to appreciate the warm reception his arrival occasioned.
While we were busy reliving last month’s travels, winter has quietly crept up on us. Not only has the cold set in again after a pleasantly mild October, but also the days have gotten much shorter — a phenomenon we had happily forgotten in two years of living on the equator. And now that we’ve set the clocks back for winter, nightfall begins well before 5pm. By the time D leaves work, pitch-black darkness has already engulfed Moldova’s unevenly illuminated capital, significantly raising the bar for what makes going out worthwhile.
A few years ago, when we still lived in Chicago, S got invited to attend a public health conference in Denver. We both went, taking advantage of the opportunity to do a bit of hiking and catch up with friends we had not seen in years. While S was at the conference, D spent the day hanging out with a friend from high school who had moved to nearby Boulder and was working on his first film. At dinner, Jeff told us how, after several years of editing, he had nearly finished putting the footage together, but that he did not like the way he was telling the story and was thinking about re-editing his near-final cut.
The abrupt, and rather spectacular resignation of our last ambassador left a brief power vaccuum in the Embassy’s Executive Office. If this had been a small, sleepy post, the Embassy would have likely functioned without an ambassador until after the U.S. elections. Given Nairobi’s geo-political importance, however, the State Department deemed that the post could not go long without an acting Chief of Mission.
Even though D’s parents came to visit during the Great Migration, we opted not to take them to the Maasai Mara. While it is true that the Mara is unparalleled in its number and diversity of wild game, it is also hot, dusty, crowded, and very far away. Wanting a more personal and intimate safari experience, we opted for a small conservancy hidden away in the Matthews Mountain Range north of Isiolo. As we sat at the roadblock, watching the situation escalate, D had a momentary pang of regret for not flying to the Mara. Thankfully, our plan B proved every bit as good as the idyllic safari experience we had envisioned for his parents.
For those who follow Kenyan affairs, the big news this weekend was the sudden resignation of our Ambassador. While it is not our place to comment on the salacious stories reverberating around media circles, blogging about something mundane and unrelated (as had been our original intention this weekend) when this is the one story that everyone is discussing seemed a bit dishonest.
December tends to be a quiet month as far as work is concerned. A week after we returned from our Tanzania trip, Kenya celebrated its most important holiday, Jamhuri Day, which marks both Kenya’s independence from Great Britain on Dec 12, 1963 and the establishment of Kenya’s first republic on the same date the following year (jamhuri means republic in Kiswahili). After Jamhuri Day, Nairobi becomes a bit of a ghost town, as Kenyans flock to the beach to enjoy the beautiful weather that follows the end of November’s short rains. As most of them do not return to work until after the New Year, a lot of Embassy staff take leave in December as well.
Even before S climbed Mt Kilimanjaro last summer, D had always been captivated by it. Once we learned that we would be serving in East Africa, climbing Kili became D’s number one priority. He wanted to go as soon as he got an opportunity to take a long vacation. The problem, of couse, is that as an entry level FSO, long vacations are hard to come by. One has to accrue vacation and even when one has banked enough holiday time, getting away is contingent on other peoples’ schedules. In D’s case, time off requires ambassadorial approval since his work is directly linked to Ambo’s schedule.