Africa, well Kenya, was a cathartic exerience in every way.
- seeing Tom and doing something for someone else
- getting my Vit B from the sun
- given an opportunity to spend five peaceful days in great company – should I need it
Primarily the trip was about Tom. I saw him on three separate occasions and am so glad that I made the ‘effort’. It is possibly too soon for me to describe in any detail how the whole thing went – I know, it is frustrating – but it is very emotive to see a friend in prison, especially a high security Kenyan prison. However, I feel better for having seen and hugged him… although it is not so good now being back in a place where I cannot do anything practical to help.
I was not able to see him over the weekend, so was spoiled rotten by his parents and friends… photos on Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/mulquem/
That aside, I did get some peace to consider communication and its variants across the globe. Believe me, being in a country where Internet access is a suspicious luxury is extremely debilitating… yet freeing (discuss!)
On the plane home I believe I had a minor epiphany.
I was standing at the back of the plane and just stretching, avoiding the catatonia of screens and food, when I noticed the diversity of people on the flight. I tell you, the flight back from Nairobi is a wet dream for anthropologists.
Yet every screen was on. Row upon row of people from every background, plugged in to some form of digital entertainment. It was a scary view!
In the seats directly surrounding me, I had two lads, both African – neither had flown before. One sat next to me, the other in front – the one in front was very young, with a nun who was clearly his guardian. Both lads were unsettled throughout the whole flight. Not because of the flight itself, I saw no nerves around take-off or landing – but they were plugged in to a wealth of vision/audio options that they had no real choice but to fiddle about. Neither of them stayed with one channel, audio or visual, for longer than a minute or so… but when they were asked to engage and interact with the screen – then they seemed keen to involve themselves.
I was feeling strangely displaced as – normally – I am the one glued to the computer screen, but I think we need to do more to ensure a balance and ensure that the attraction of digital/social media is managed carefully enough not to make zombies out of all of us.
More when I have had more sleep! And Amy has officially turned six!