Sasha and I walk 45 to 50 minutes to work every morning, and I've only taken my camera twice on the journey. Today was one of those days taking photos, so here is a compilation of what the average commute looks like. (Keep in mind I didn't take my camera out during the busiest intersections because I'd rather not be robbed!)
The slideshow of photos is below. Normally it's HOT HOT HOT and I'm dripping by the time we reach the office. If it rained the night before, the road is MUDDY MUDDY MUDDY so I'm dripping AND dirty by the time we reach the office. That's a particularly good combo.
Depending on the route we take, either the main road or the slum road, we get different amounts of cat-calls and dust sticking to our skin. We prefer the slum road because even though it goes by the slum and the prison, it's greener, less crazy in terms of traffic (and dust), there are less creepy men, and more small children. On any given day, we might pass one to four herds of goats chomping grass on the side of the road.
Why is this my favorite photo of the day?
Firstly, the smoke catches my eye. There is random smoke all over, from mini stove cooking fires to trash burning fires in ditches. Sometimes it smells nice, like when somebody is cooking chapati (Kenyan naan bread?), while other times it smells carcinogenic, like when people dispose of plastic.
Secondly, there's a sign for M-Pesa, which is linked to the Safaricom phone plan. M-Pesa allows you to buy anything from your phone, and acts as super quick e-transfers. People use M-Pesa to purchase anything from meals at hole-in-the-wall "hotels" (aka tiny restaurants) which have their M-Pesa numbers painted on the walls, to making reservations at hostels.
Thirdly, there are colorfully painted signs, like everywhere all over. My favorite one in the photo is the sign that says, "Silver Touch Salon." If you saw this in a magazine, with just the name, you might think it would be worth getting your hair done here. I just appreciate how nice names are painted in block letters on cramped concrete tin sheds. Some of our favorite painted names include "Mt. Kenya Pork Den" (kill me that's so funny), "Faith Milk Hotel" (count me in), and "Nice Pub" (sounds nice).
Fourthly, the buckets remind me of my lovely bucket showers. Fifthly, the three stones are like those I use for weights when I do workouts outside. Sixthly, the red bottle cap on the right side of the photo, on the grass, depicts the classic trash/grass combo, but on a small scale that is manageable. Seventhly, "Chester's Kinyozi" is the hidden sign, and tells helps everyone understand there are at least 5 Kinyozi (barber shops) around the corner. Eighthly, the scene does not convey poverty because these people have a sturdy concrete home (better than tin), electricity (notice the lightbulb), and a clean space to cook.
Finally, I enjoy how the man is coming out of a pink door frame. I have seen patriarchal norms up-close-and-personal for the past month, and they really irk me. This photo shows the fluidity between masculinity and femininity, and gives me a piece of mind that things are slowly changing, even if it's just in my little bubble (I realize I take comfort in a door frame, but I'll take what I can get).
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