I honestly have no right to complain. Compared to a great many volunteers, I’m pretty much in The Big City. I have to walk five minutes to get to a paved road where I can catch a matatu. Fifteen minutes to the fruit dukas. Less than twenty to the general store. But still, I yearned for more range and flexibility in my movements. This isn’t going to work when it’s a-hundred-and-screw-this degrees in December, I thought myself as I painstakingly schlepped home plastic bags of groceries by hand. What inspired me to buy three liters of milk, two liters of juice, five kilos of rice, AND a watermelon when all I needed was toothpaste?

So … I bought a bicycle.

Please hold your applause.

Before you start doing the mental math of Complete Clutz + Metal Death Machine – Seat Belts and Airbags = We’re So Thrilled The Doctors Said Megan Might Be Out Of Her Bodycast In Time To Celebrate Her Fortieth Birthday, I have a helmet. And BY GOD I WEAR THAT HELMET. And when I don’t, I WALK.

Want to get more strange looks than you ever have ever in your life? Step one: be a mzungu. Step two: walk your bicycle through downtown Malindi because you don’t have your helmet and therefore can’t ride it to the matatu stage. Step three: PROFIT. Someone even helpfully took me aside and offered to teach me how to ride it, since clearly if I knew, I wouldn’t be pushing it down the sidewalk. The logic breaks down slightly when one tries to figure out why I’d buy a brand new shiny awesome bicycle if I had no earthly idea how to make it go, but there’s no accounting for the mind of wazungu sometimes.

It is black. It is sleek. It is beautiful. It caused a small furor reminiscent of dropping a chum bucket into a deepwater trench inhabited by tiger sharks when I walked it past the tree where all the mechanic fundis hang out. And … it needs a name.

My iPod has a name – Sophanisba (after the enigmatic leopard lady of the 1914 epic Italian silent film, Cabiria)

My computer has a name – Krycek (after … well, if I have to tell you, it’s not worth it.)

Even the millipede who used to live on my ceiling had a name – Ronaldo (after Cristiano, because the image of a centipede playing football makes me giggle in a ridiculous and unbecoming fashion.)

SO! Here’s the part where you come in: got any suggestions for my new bicycle’s name? Put ‘em in the comments.

Maybe Alejandro. We’ll see.

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