I cannot continue to emphasise how much one of the main benefits of being in Nairobi is the ability to get out so easily. So as I have tended to do the past few weeks, this weekend I decided to escape the frustrations, the traffic, the crowds and now the rains, to take a trip to one of my favourite countries in the world: Uganda. I decided that given I have never lived so close to Uganda and therefore my Jjaajas (grandparents), I should make use of this and go and visit more often.
It was a wonderful trip and they were in top shape (although my poor Jjaaja had a cold the day I left). My Jjaaja-Maama, who has just overcome a bout of tetanus at the age of 92 (!!) is still fit as a fiddle and I found her sitting in her chair reading her, what must be at least 1000 page biography of Queen Elizabeth II.
Here I have to emphasise that she absolutely loves the royal family. Therefore she enjoys perusing the British celebrity gossip magazines, in particular Hello magazine. Before my trip, I scoured Nairobi and was successful, finding four past issues – slightly dusty, slightly bent but still readable and perhaps, more importantly, the pictures were still visible. Each issue had some member of the royal family on the front, which was an added bonus.
At Seeta, my Jjaaja-Maama and I spent the afternoon flipping through the pages of Hello – myself catching up on at least a year’s worth of gossip (as I do not tend to read this type of literature) and my Jjaaja-Maama harshly critiquing various different celebreties choice of clothing (or lack thereof).
You may be asking yourselves what the hot topic of the past couple of months has been? In first place, with a clear lead: when were Prince William and Kate Middleton going to get married. Three out of the four issues had full-blown analyses (which given that this type of magazine is not usually text heavy, was quite impressive) speculating about when they were going to get engaged and married. It became clear that my Jjaaja-Maama was really hoping to live to see this day, especially as she is a huge fan of the Princess Diana and thus, by default, the Princes.
When I returned to Nairobi and circulated an email to family yesterday about my visit to Uganda, I in fact mentioned this, as it had been quite an integral part of the visit. My exact words were (email dated 16 November 2010, 7:28 am):
“I think her biggest hope is to see Prince William and Kate Middleton get married, so as soon as this happens, we have to make sure to send her every copy of every magazine with the wedding photos.”
And as if god (or whoever drives fate) heard me, I was on the BBC News Website that very afternoon (3:42pm to be exact) and the headline was:
(I’ve included the link here just incase by some miraculous chance, someone has not heard the news yet).
And to top it all off, they got engaged whilst on holiday in Kenya in October. I felt very proud of myself – kind of like I had instigated this all just for my Jjaaja-Maama. However, I was not the only one to feel proud – the Kenyans did too for having played such a decisive part in the whole engagement process. The newspapers were full of self-praise today. However, I think the award for the best ‘pat on the back’ goes to today’s Daily Nation (one of Kenya’s leading newspapers) with the following coverage:
“The royal family appears to love holidays in Kenya. Queen Elizabeth heard news of her father’s death while on holiday in Kenya in 1952.”
Kenya is doing well – it can now claim the President Obama and Prince William. Who’s next?