If you’re wondering why I haven’t updated since shaking you down for money a few weeks ago, you may be rest assured that it is *not* because I have been kidnapped by sea-roving bandits. (Although given how often I’m to be found singing “A Pirate’s Life for Me” or “Hoist the Colours” while going about my morning at the clinic, I’d imagine my coworkers would not object to this contingency.) Safety and security are serious issues in the developing world, although honestly, I’ve just as high – if not higher – a risk of being murdered/assaulted/whatever in New York City or Detroit. My village is a fairly safe place, located well outside the recommended evacuation zones put in place by embassies. Peace Corps takes this all deadly seriously: after a French tourist was snatched from her resort, the Country Director himself visited every person on North Coast to discuss their safety situation. My meeting with him lasted nearly three hours, although that’s probably less to do with his or my level of worry, and more to do with the fact that he treated me to lunch at an Italian-run pizzeria in the tourist side of town.

In all seriousness, though: at present, things seem fine here. I’m keeping my ear to the ground personally, and Peace Corps is monitoring the situation closely from Nairobi. There are already oodles of vexing-but-ultimately-practical policies in place (no transit after dark, no going to Lamu/Garissa/Turkana/Juba/Kampala/anywhere else exciting without taking certain specific measures, Nairobi and other potential target areas are limited to emergency/essential medical travel only, etc.) Peace Corps Washington has several people on payroll who exist only to think the worst of everything and chew their nails to the nubs. Given the Kenyan incursion into Somalia, and al-Shabab’s pledge to retaliate in exponential return, I’m sure they’re down to the second knuckle by now, but they’ve yet to contact me or (to the best of my knowledge) anyone else about the situation. HOWEVER, in the unlikely event that something goes down, I will keep informed those who need informing, and will (insha’allah) post something on this blog as well, when time and security permit.

In the meantime, jipumzike. Rest yourself. Things are probably going to be fine.

And stay tuned for thrilling entries in the near future about such topics as: early marriages, the joy of teaching middle school, fleas that lay eggs under your skin, and the most fashionable autumnal haute couture textile pallet the leso markets of Mombasa have to offer. I don’t know what half of those words mean, but as the great Tim Gunn would tell us, we’re just going to make it work, people.

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