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Heading Back to Kenya on Turkish Airlines

So the journey to Kenya begins again. And like most trips, there’s a lot of hurry up and waiting.

Najwa at the airport

Najwa was upgraded to having her own luggage.

Najwa Walking

Waiting in line

Checking in luggage

Najwa Still Waiting

More hurry up and wait

More hurry up and wait


Najwa was appointed honorary TSA Agent at Dulles



Traveling with me can be stressful because I only have two speeds. Either you’re taking way too long and I have that look of extreme impatience; or I’m just not going to start moving until I feel like it because I hate being rushed.

Once it looked like we were almost at the finish line, Nduku relaxes a bit on the Dulles subway to the terminal.


Najwa Wearing Down

Parent’s worse fear: Child running out of gas before even boarding the plane!

Last time we went to Kenya, Najwa was half her age and twice as challenging. But 17 hours of being in transit, we still came prepared with two Kindles, two phones with many kids’ apps, a few toys, paper and writing utensils, snacks, juice and anything else we could think of.


Now that Najwa has shown she likes dipping her apples in peanut butter,
she’ll be getting more of that once we get back.

My Little Pony

It always amazes me how toddlers can make friends as if they’ve known each other for years. This little girl had a tablet watching something kiddy. When she saw Najwa peeking, she invited her over and they just laid there until it was time to board.


Finally. This is the part that I probably hate the most of traveling — the part where people disregard everyone standing behind them just to take off their scarf in the middle of the aisle, or the person who bends over and puts his ass in your face.

But it’s always a relief to finally board the plane.

Boarding, finally

I always like watching the flight path as we circle the planet. With the plane icon slowly crawling across the map, it’s a reminder of just how big the planet is. And this is just the first leg. Nine hours to go.

Flight Path

Fortunately, with a middle of the night departure and all the hurry up and waiting, the anticipation and hustle and bustle, Najwa falls asleep before we even put on our seat belts. Just as planned.

Najwa Sleeping on the plane

We had a layover at Istanbul Atatürk Airport. It took us a moment to figure out how to get to the food court, but we found it and it was crowded. Most if not all the tables were taken. There were lines, partly from people ordering food in foreign languages and just because there were a lot of people in between flights looking to grab a quick bite before getting back on the plane.

And in the commotion, Najwa spots across the food court the same girl she met at Dulles. And without hesitation, they keep playing as if they’ve met more than just once before.

Najwa's Friend

Anytime you don’t use the bathroom on the plane, not wanting to use those mobile porta potties, be prepared to stand in line with everyone else who decided to wait until they landed. Fortunately, the men’s line is rarely hanging out the door like the ladies line. Or as they say overseas — the queue to the toilet.

Bathroom Line

I used to like when we had to take the stairs down off the airplane, except when it’s cold outside and I’m carrying a sleeping 40+ pound child.




When we got back on the plane, Najwa tried to get back to sleep, donning the blindfold, but she actually stayed awake the last 6 hours of the flight. I’ll let Nduku tell the story about the woman who sat by the window with something smart to say about an overly active Najwa for the entire 6 hours.


But we finally arrived in Nairobi, landing around 3:00 am. We immediately went to bed, but were up relatively early the next morning. Well, it took a little longer to get Najwa awake.


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