I became a grandad for the third time last week, and this time, the baby was born in Nairobi. Just like our own two children. In those days, Nairobi was only a small town without any traffic jams or hospital queues. In fact, there was only one hospital really, no need to search for a gynaecologist, other options simply didn’t exist.
Later on, friends would sometimes tell us about the dramas they had experienced elsewhere. Paternity leave was another thing we had never heard of back then. Our children were born naturally on a Saturday. We drove back to Naivasha on Sunday and the following Monday we went back to work. Nowadays, Nairobi is a city with more than 5 million inhabitants, where lots of new babies are born every day.
Our daughter-in-law is from Argentina and I’m glad to say she’s pretty determined. So, the little one was born naturally, around the corner from the hospital, at home in their own apartment. The Kenyan hospitals are nothing like those in the Netherlands; it’s pure business here. Caesarean deliveries are preferred, because they can charge more for those.
A caesarean section is easier to plan, too. No need to get the doctor out of bed in the middle of the night. I don’t know what the trend is in the Netherlands, but I sincerely hope that now that so many hospitals have gone bankrupt, they won’t commercialise things in the same way as they do here in Kenya.
Modern age has its pros and cons. Two of the pros are WhatsApp and FaceTime. Sharing pictures and videos with people all over the world is easier than ever before. Everyone is involved and joins in. When our kids were small, the grandparents would see them once, perhaps twice a year. They missed a lot.
Our neighbours from Aalsmeer demonstrated last week that you’re never too old to learn. They’re almost 80 years old and used FaceTime for the first time. Our son was always a little bit their son too, so the new arrival was very special for them.
With regards to paternity leave, that’s two weeks in Kenya nowadays. A good opportunity for me to get back into the work at the nursery for a while. At Tima 5, we’re frantically trying to finish the water reservoir before the beginning of the rainy season. We’ve planted 10 hectares there now, and we’ll be sending the first flowers to Rijnsburg later this month. Production is increasing, and prices are decreasing. As far as that’s concerned, nothing’s changed over the years.
I received an interesting phone call today. There’s movement in the release of our calcium nitrate order, which has been held by customs authorities at the border for more than five months now. The equipment was struggling to find the last few percent of N, but it seems like they’ve found it in the end. Kenya is unbeatable for things like that. With the right amount of patience, there’s a solution for everything. Even if you don’t want a caesarean.
Simon van der Burg,