I write this post from a tent in the departure section of Nairobi’s largest airport (the airport having burned several weeks before we got here). First, let me say that everyone in our group is fine. The events of the past couple of days have interrupted our focus somewhat, and under the circumstances, I will save the other posts about schools and students, etc for the next few days.
We arrived back together as a group in Nairobi via airplanes from Entebbe and Kilimanjaro on Saturday. I was with the Entebbe group, which landed around an hour before the terrorist attack. By sheer luck we decided against lunch at Westgate and instead headed to the Karen area, where we remained blissfully ignorant until heading back to our lodgings at Parklands.
The other group also came in safely and met us there.
Parklands is actually quite near the Westgate, so over the past few days we have heard the military helicopters circling overhead and today, explosions and gunfire as oily smoke billowed into the sky. Two of us had planned to longer at Parklands today since our flight does not depart until midnight, but our concerns about that area being cordoned off caused us to change our plans and spend the afternoon back in Karen.
So that is our story, but of course it is of no great consequence in light of the loss and suffering here. I was in Atlanta for the Olympic bombing, in Singapore for the tsunami and most recently in my hometown for the Marathon bombings. in every instance, I have been struck by how difficult it is for all if us to adjust to such a reality. The sudden loss of a loved one us infinitely painful; how then can one grasp the loss of so many loved ones?
We have spent our days clustered with our Kenyan friends around televisions that are tuned to news of the siege in gas stations, hotels, restaurants and even museums. Like all terrorist attacks this one is meant to spread anguish and anger indiscriminately and yet somehow feel immensely personal. From one Bostonian to the people of Nairobi, we understand your sense of outrage and of loss and send our heartfelt wishes for you over the long, slow recovery to come.