For all of the games of the World Series except for game 4, the San Franciscans gathered at Jenni and Jason’s from 2:30 or 1:30 till 6 or 7 AM to watch the game. Each night, I went to bed as soon as possible after math tutoring, and jumped out of bed with the 2:30 alarm so as to avoid convincing myself to go back to sleep. I would fumble around for my headlamp and throw on pants and a jacket, then locked my rondavel and knocked on Paria’s door. Having slept through her own alarm, she would croak, “coming…” and shuffle to open the door with a sleeping mask on her forehead and Samson (her adorable kitten, who has been coming over to my rondavel for playdates a lot recently) in one arm, squinting in the blinding light of my headlamp. We then walked up to the house together, often escorted by Ajax, Rasta, and Tusker, the three Daraja dogs, who would cuddle up to us wherever they could find a free surface in the living room with the only working satellite TV on campus. Fueled by tea and snacks, we all snuggled on the ground in sleeping bags or hidden under blankets on the couch, trying to avoid dozing off when the innings seemed to drag on. However, during the exciting points – especially during the 9th inning, or with Cody Ross (who is definitely my favorite this year….) at bat – we would be wide-eyed and vocal as we cheered for our hometown team.
On Monday night/Tuesday morning, the San Francisco Giants, who have never won a world series as San Francisco’s team, were up three games to one. Again feeling like a little kid before Christmas, I woke up at 11:30 PM after going to bed at 8:30, then slept till 1:30. For the first time, Paria was already awake (for the first time). Even Pia from Denmark wanted to watch the game just to observe our reactions. At Jenni and Jason’s, I munched nervously on banana chips until the game started. The game was incredible… and dictated by pitching, as a Texas-SF game should be. Lincecum nearly pitched a no-hitter far into the game, and innings of skillful baseball passed smoothly (unlike game one). Our eyes stayed glued to Lincecum, Renteria, Ross, and all the other wonders of the Giants. No dozing off tonight. The seventh innning three-run homer, which brought screams of excitement to our little microcosm of baseball mania in the middle of the Kenyan bush, determined the game. During the ninth inning, I sat with the other three girls (Jenni, Paria, and Chelsea) on the couch, all gripping each others hands under the masses of blankets piled on top of us. I can’t remember the last time that my heart has beat so fast uninfluenced by exercise. At around 5:30 AM, as the sun began to set an orangish hue into the sky above the still-black Mt. Kenya, the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS won the World Series. We screamed and jumped up onto the couch, embracing each other enthusiastically. I have to say I don’t think the Kenyans quite understood our excitement when we blabbered about it all day on Tuesday, but they appreciated that we were excited and tried to empathize.
All this early morning baseball did wear down on me. I felt pretty lethargic during the days, and would spend every free moment napping instead of enjoying the company of the girls and the African energy. Sometimes, since I had construction work to do from 8:00 till 5:00, I would find myself standing and staring down at a full wheelbarrow, feeling like my legs had turned to rubber and refused to support me. I also started getting antsy, as if I needed to move to a new place. So although I may seldom have a chance to watch the Giants win the World Series, and it was totally worth it, my wave of baseball fanaticism certainly had its consequences.
I made a couple of resolutions to make sure I keep appreciating my incredible location. For one, I would like to run at least five days a week here. The area around Daraja is perfect for adventure runs, especially the kind where I just pick a point, run through the bush to get there, then find my way back home. I ran on Monday, and my entire run consisted of trying to run towards the end of a beautiful rainbow that arced aross the sky. I didn’t reach it, but I came home exhilirated and happy. Second, I plan to go on at least two weekend trips – one to Masai Mara, and one to Mombasa (a town on the coast with a different culture then Northern Kenya) – so I can see as much of the country as possible while I am here. I also need to remember that the girls at Daraja make everything worthwhile. Over the weekend, spending time with the girls certainly removed some of the antsiness. I helped with a wonderful scavenger hunt, and taught a class where we pretended I was President Kibaki and they were my advisors on into which energy source I should invest a million shillings.
So GO GIANTS, and I envy everyone who gets to experience the thrill of being in San Francisco right now. I am happy the games are over (but thrilled that I watched the Giants win!), however, so I can start living in the moment here again.