It’s June 7, 2004. I am about to leave for Nairobi after spending one night in Nakuru. Before the Nakuru layover, I was in Kakamega for a couple of days. The western getaway was fun until a freak accident left me grimacing in pain, blood dripping from a huge cut near my right eyebrow. We will get back to the bloodstained face later.
It’s a chilly Monday morning. As we hit the road, I wonder if I will be able to follow the 9 a.m. lecture attentively. The devil is tempting me to skip this one. "The last thing you need is to get busted by Dipti Fernandes taking a nap in her class." He is whispering in my freezing ear. Mrs. Fernandes is my no-nonsense Total Quality Management instructor.
The purpose of the Kakamega trip was to participate in a basketball tournament. Before I reveal what transpired during the games, I have a confession to make. Basketball was just an excuse to visit a new town. I am on a mission to explore Kenya extensively while pursuing my degree at the United States International University - Africa.
Since basketball is a team sport, I am not traveling solo. I am part of the team that represented the aforementioned university in the Kakamega tourney. Also aboard, is the leader of the delegation, Bonfas Salano. He is the one who took me to the nearest hospital when someone’s elbow hit my face during the hotly-contested semi-final. That elbow inflicted pain, drew blood and, ultimately, led to a dozen stitches.
As mentioned above, it’s June 7, 2004. The plan was to return to Nairobi yesterday, but the tournament ended late. Since we couldn’t make it to the capital without violating the school’s travel policy, we devised a plan to spend Sunday night closer to our final destination. Nakuru’s proximity to Nairobi makes it easy to arrive before the commencement of classes. My only concern is the possibility of sleep deprivation catching up with me in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
I was supposed to spend last night in bed. Unfortunately, going to bed didn’t happen. After dinner, my partner in crime and I sneaked out of Hotel Waterbuck in pursuit of Nakuru’s nightlife. When we staggered back to the hotel in the wee hours of the morning, game 1 of the 2004 NBA finals was on. Game time in Los Angeles, California was close to the crack of dawn on this side of the world.
I found myself glued to the TV until the final buzzer went off, about fifteen minutes before departure. Apart from the screen hanging on the wall, the only thing I used in my hotel room was the bathroom.