Sunday, September 21, 2008

My first day in Nairobi and climbing a volcano

I was very fortunate being one of a few Rotarians who was privileged to stay at the home of a local Rotarian and Doctor, Darsi and his wife Renita. He has a very interesting history and is very active in the treatment of AIDS victims.

7:30 am Darsi and I set off for a volcano in the rift valley north of Nairobi. I had arrived at 11:00 pm the night before. We met two friends that work for the U.S. Government and live in Kenya. It was a hand over hand climb near the top and I was wondering if my trip would be cut short by a coronary before it even got started. I did survive and enjoyed the spectacular views down steep foliage covered sides of the volcano from a very narrow path.

Darsi Lotai and Renita prepared a lovely dinner on their veranda of grilled or stir fried fish and salad. Earlier I had gone shopping with Darsi at a very upscale mall for Kenya to get veggies from the green grocer. These drives show the most affluent and most depressed areas of Nairobi. There is a vast difference. On our drives to the volcano and then the green grocer, Darsi gave me more of his history. He is ethnically Indian but was borne in Nairobi. His grandfather came over to Kenya as an indentured servant for 50 rupees. It took him 5 years to pay it back. This grandfather must have been very industrious as he started several businesses. Darsi’s father was able to send 4 children to college with Darsi completing medical school. He has been involved in polio and then AIDS working for the government and several companies. At one time during the genocide in Rwanda he personally drove medicines from a pharmaceutical company to Rwanda as all the usual means of conveyance were shut down.

My hosts had invited a couple to join us. The lady was an ex-BA flight attendant who was currently running a bed and breakfast in Nairobi that seemed to cater to NGO personnel. Paula was having trouble getting paid. Her companion was a very interesting African who had spent 5 years in North Korea training as an insurgent.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Kenya Rotary AIDS trip

I am leaving for Kenya on September 19th to participate in this Rotary function. We will work in AIDS clinics and stay with local Rotarians. The flyer below gives basic information about the trip.

A blog of the trip can be found at