We talk about many things, and I try
to keep my side of the conversation up.
A big topic is worries for the
Like everyone else, theyíre
concerned that there will be more violence.
When the chips are down what do people
do Ė will we see rioting and fighting?
This is what fear and anger brings out
But fear can also bring out something
Iíve seen it just now, a gut
instinct to cling to others for support.
Maybe we have more of a choice than we
think Ė to cleave to each other rather than put
cleavers into each otherís heads.
The next day is another hot Lamu
My friend and I decide to go to
Peponis for an afternoon drink.
But our timing was off.
Yes we decided to walk rather than
catch the boat.
Yes it was shortly after 11.30am
when we set out.
Yes we were wearing flip flops and
yes the sand was like burning shards of glass for
the full thirty minute walk.
'Mad dogs and Englishmen' Ė cíest
The headiness of the day had clearly
got to us, so that after a few drinks at Peponis, and
dinner at Lamu house, neither of us can quite remember
how we got home.
Something about a cat, something about
a wall; the details are blurry.
Too soon itís time for me to head
back out to Manda Island airstrip for the plane back
Iím late, have missed the
public boat and have to get a private boat to
Which means Iíve no idea if
the plane is still there.
The airstrip looks quiet, too
All I can see are two
officials who are laughing and feeding the
"Have I missed it?
Safarilink to Wilson?" I pant.
"Oh yes itís
gone." Replies one of the men, all
serious and stern.
Then he breaks into a big
grin. "Ha ha".
"Ha, you are trouble,
I can see this!"
-- On the private boat: will I make it
back in time for my flight?
I reply to the man, who turns out to
be the main check in and immigration official.
He is that rare thing in a customs
official, a charming ambassador for his country.
The M.P. for Lamu is also at the
airstrip and buys everyone a soda.
We all drink and chat as we wait for
Then itís time to board.
Trouble comes up and waves me off:
"Goodbye Sharif, see you again!"
He is smiling.