Nairobi in the details: An ode to … dirt

I’ve heard that once you get African dirt under your fingernails, the lure of Africa reels you in.

But I have to ask: How on earth can you not get African dirt under your fingernails?

Really. If anyone has any tips, let me know.

I was going to include more photos with this post, because well, it was supposed to be a photo post – but I couldn’t. Dirt is that one detail that needs no supporting cast.

It stands on its own.

 

Let’s hear it for dirt

It looks like cinnamon, in color and in texture. It sifts onto every exposed surface in a thin, gritty layer. It defies logic, befuddling in its ability to find its way onto surfaces you swear aren’t even remotely exposed.

It billows up at the slightest disturbance, coating feet, clothes and face instantly. Tip: When walking anywhere, keep your eyes and mouth closed.

I’ll let you digest that one for a bit.

Nairobi traffic can be a roller coaster ride at best. When you add a construction zone – of which there are a number around Nairobi – or just a random pile of dirt sitting on the side of the road, it’s like a special effects scene straight out of an Apocalyptic film, complete with sandstorms and seemingly possessed cars zigging and zagging all over the road.

An occasional rain makes it something else entirely.

Have you ever contemplated the surface of a gingerbread cookie closely? No? Me neither.

But if I did, I think it would look like Kenyan dirt after a winter rain.

 

The gritty truth

Speaking of sayings, I’ve also heard it said you shouldn’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Here, that mile will leave an indelible mark on your shoes.

Maybe that’s where the fingernails come in.

No matter how or when you leave it, Africa will have an impact on you while you’re here.

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