As always I got up about 5 this morning. We really have no plans as this is "the day". First thing I noticed when stepping out into the garden was that there was absolutely no human noise. As in any major huge international capitol, there are traffic noises, people living noises, clattering all the time. Not this morning, nothing. Everything closed, no traffic, no pedestrians. Kenyans take voting very seriously…at the end of the day, there was concern about the LOW voter turnout….only 60%! Could you imagine that happening in the US? After a very leisurely breakfast, we double checked several places to see if they might open later in the day. No, because the norm is to stand in line for up to 8 hours to cast a ballot. A walk downtown seemed in order and for two hours we were amazed at the ghost town feel -except for very visible security at each corner and sometimes in between. Stopped at the Stanley Hotel for a drink. The message tree is still there…thank heavens that some people honor traditions! After returning to the hotel, we got a taxi out to Hope House, an orphanage that takes babies only. By three years of age, they have either been adopted or moved to another home fit for older children. This was a soul touching visit. Hope House is directed by an Australian catholic nun (retired nurse), and one of our companions, who is from Australia, has supported this organization, particularly a precious young girl with cerebral palsy and a young "all boy" Jonathan.
Everywhere we went, people were talking about the election and what might be coming, and there was a definite feeling of caution but not panic. The far western province, however, has had some extreme violence breakout…..very far away from anywhere I will be.
Another traveler arrived about 9 tonight and after consulting my friends, we settled on doing a day trip tomorrow so I’m off to bed getting ready for a very early start.
Here are pictures of the main road in central Nairobi that is usually bumper to bumper 5 cars wide 24/7 and of the orphanage visit.
Yeah, yeah, I know. There will be some critter photos coming. Remember, I’m still in the big city.