Good Morning from Eldoret.
I am up, clothed and just about in my right mind after sleeping flat out for 12 plus hours. The migraine I had has gone but my head is still quite fuzzy and I feel a bit fragile. I am sure this is mainly because I had no sleep whatsoever on the flight due to everything that happened.
It was awful.
We were late boarding, initially due to the incoming plane running late. Then as we began to board large numbers of police and uniformed border control people arrived.
I duly entered the plane to discover I was seated in the middle of a group of British soldiers. (You can tell they are soldiers even when they’re not in uniform, can’t you? I certainly can having spent my early years as an army kid in Kenya). However they were not bound for Kenya but were in transit for another country where they were joining a UN peacekeeping force.
Once everyone was seated it all kicked off. A man was brought onto the plane by all the uniformed police. He was being escorted by two enormous men and they were seated in the last row at the back. He started screaming and crying, begging not to be sent back, tearing at his clothes, shouting “Undress me! Look at what they did to me! I cannot go back!”
The police asked the soldiers to swap seats with the families who were sitting near the back and the children moved forward, all crying as the man’s distress was contagious. I asked one of the police officers if they could guarantee our safety as he had just referred to the man as a criminal. Other people were complaining about the noise and saying they were not willing to endure it all the way to Nairobi. Still others were saying things like “Put him in the hold!” The policeman told me we would be quite safe as the man had “outstayed his welcome” and was now being escorted home by the company used by border control in such matters. The man was not Kenyan, only in transit back to another country. A country which does not have a good human rights record.
It went on a long time. I put my fingers in my ears and prayed. I don’t know if the man was a criminal. I don’t know what immigration laws he had broken. I don’t know how true the details were. I only know it was awful. If he was acting then he deserves an Oscar.
Finally the decision was taken by his handlers that he would not fly and so they removed him and we took off.
However peace was not restored as two men (not soldiers) near to me talked throughout the whole flight about what had happened and their somewhat less than moderate approach to this and other matters ensured I stayed wide awake. The whole flight.
I arrived hardly able to think straight and transferred to the domestic terminal which (Hallelujah!) now has a Java coffee shop. So I sipped my coffee and put on my phone. Safaricom welcomed me back and I bought a top up card which did not work. It transpires that if the phone is unused for three months they block it- you can receive but not send so I will have to go into the Safaricom shop and get that sorted.
One hilarious moment when I was clearing security for my onward flight. I kept setting off the alarm. The security team held a conference which involved staring at my chest and talking too fast in Kiswahili for me to understand. Finally they waved me through.
Apparently the underwire in my bra was the guilty party…..
My friend met me at Eldoret. It is so good to be back here.
I popped over to the Diocesan office and was warmly welcomed home.
The Bishop asked to see me and was just lovely. With his naughty twinkle he asked if David was still involved in the politics of injustice now he was back in the UK, especially the refugees…..all I could think of was the man on the plane.
I am resting this weekend and will start work on Monday preparing for the wheelchair distribution.
P.S. I am finally warm. It is wonderful!