Three hours after my flight had touched down in Kenya, I was relieved to be sitting.
Sat on a knee-high wall at the exit to the airport, I had finally given up and removed my backpack, resting it safely upright between my knees.
Still no sign of a pick-up.
After negotiating my way through the temporary airport structure, I had found myself in an overwhelming situation of 50+ strange and excitable men waving me toward their cars, all offering to take me to my destination. Some were sneaky, suggesting they were my organised pick-up, but clearly couldn’t name the organisation they were supposedly from. Most were honest enough to admit that they would take me to my destination, but did not work for my chosen charity.
As the initial shock of the situation simmered down, I became aware of a subsidence in the crowds. Taxi drivers were finding willing customers and showing less interest in the young white girl who had already turned most of them down three times over. Through the parted crowds, I had noticed a mirror image, another young, white girl, alone, backpack bigger than her body, nervous smile as she turned down the help of a barrage of strangers. We formed an alliance as she joined me in my spot on the wall and we exchanged stories, suggesting ways we could help each other out.
Rebecca was waiting on a lift too, a specific one, a bit like me, looking out among the locals for someone who held up a sign with our names on. Unfortunately we had by now come to the conclusion that we were heading for different charities, in different parts of Kenya, or there might have been a simple solution.
While we waited, we clocked onto a very busy, stressed but seemingly helpful local woman, who appeared to be connecting people on foot with people in cars. I wasn’t sure who she was, or why she was helping, but she organised the crowds with an authority and warmth that made me feel I could trust her.
The woman, the total stranger, was not in an airport uniform, she didn’t appear to be a transport and logistics professional, she did not work for any of the local taxi companies and she didn’t seem to be associated with any particular charity organisation.
She offered us her phone to call our respective charities and didn’t seem to want to police us while we used it. She sent us back to the wall with her mobile phone and continued to shout and wave over the crowds, introducing pedestrians to drivers.
To this day, I have no idea who this woman was or how she came to be there that day.
Rebecca was able to secure her lift fairly quickly from just a brief phone call and was on her way within the hour. I was able to confirm that my charity were not expecting me for another 24 hours, and therefore, I was waiting for nobody.
Making no sense? Maybe start with Part 1
Looking for Part 5?
(Thanks to google images, for its consistent images available for the taking… I did take some of my own pictures on my travels, honestly. But not just yet.)