Why I left my camera at home

I can be obsessive about taking pictures. Why not?  It’s easy now that I don’t have to decide if this is a truly worthy scene every time I snap that old fashioned film-loaded camera. That was the dark ages. These days we are a camera-snapping world and I imagine we take zillions of photos every day.

Nairobi can be annoying but it can also be entertaining. Hundreds of people pour down the sidewalks each morning, speed walking, not for exercise, but hurrying to work. I join them as Phil and I take our morning walk.

So, why would I leave my camera at home when I see fascinating things every. single. day.

The three young guys on in-line skates, bent forward with hands folded behind their backs, weaving in perfect rhythm through the traffic jam.

The pre-school girl with the orange sunglasses and pink backpack sitting in a purple plastic chair strapped tightly to the back fender of her dad’s bike.

The row of school kids in burgundy sweaters and grey trousers, jostling and joking, stretched across the wide sidewalk.

The lady merrily laughing and chatting with her friends while balancing a five gallon bucket on her head.

I had a growing mental list of great photo ops I did not want to miss. My plan? I could slip my small camera into my pocket and take pictures on the sly. But somehow it didn’t feel right to me. I’m not a tourist. I’m not a photo journalist. This is my city. These are my neighbors. I recognize them and they recognize me. Besides being the only white lady on that route at that time, did I really want to be the white lady with a camera in front of her face?

I thought about it for several days and finally realized I wasn’t going to miss a thing. I didn’t need a camera to capture the delight I felt when those scenes unfolded. Even now each of those mental pictures make me smile.

I’m just going to enjoy Nairobi.  My city.





2 thoughts on “Why I left my camera at home

  1. I love this, Jan! I could just picture everything you described. I recently met two men from Kenya (Thika) at the library where I work. It’s so wonderful chatting with them, greeting each other in swahili. A little bit of home come to my little corner of the world and I am blessed.

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