May 31, 2006


On Tuesday we stopped on our way back to Kapenguria in Tamkal. It's a town tucked down in the fold of the Cherangani Hills. In a lush narrow valley with a waterfall above it and noisy river running through it, and a grassy road neatly trimmed by goats and cows, shaded by acacia trees. We were to visit a dispensary, but the nurse was not there, is never there. Marina suspects he's not working. Some problem with the community as well perhaps. We leave a message with his daugher and go back to the car. The flies are murderous. They attack the ears and behind the ears. You can't take your hands down from your head. I feel like a prize fighter in the late rounds. But I notice the flies don’t seem to attack the men in front of us. I ask Marina.

“Fresh skin,” she replies.

Fresh skin and she's fresh skin and I'm wondering how long she can manage this. This kind of work, the beauty and graciousness of East Africa notwithstanding — and the insecurity of it, let's not forget that — this work burns you out and there's always need for fresh skin.

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