24 April

‘When this old world starts getting me down,
And people are just too much for me to face.
I’ll climb way up to the top of the stairs and all my cares just drift right into space.
Up on the roof, it’s peaceful as can be and there the world below don’t bother me.’
– James Taylor

This is an unexpected post, as most have been. When I woke this morning to the sound of the rooster I did not know what the day would hold for me.

I walked across campus to the ATM one last time. I needed to get the money that Lauren just transferred for me so that I can give away shillings to some people who need them before I leave Kenya. She has learned to live with my generous charitable streak in amazing ways since I have come to Kenya. I once directed a play called You Can’t Take It With You. It’s true. You can’t.

Anyway, as you probably know if you’ve been following my journey as a Fulbright Scholar in Kenya, I am an avid amateur photographer. I have taken every photo on the blog. I don’t leave home without my camera. What will I see that I want to share?

I am a visual-spatial learner; images lead my words. I know what I want to write about because of something I have seen that made me think. I do not think of interesting things and then find an image to match.

Take a journey with me up on the roof. Kenyatta University is a campus under construction. There are five major buildings being built on campus at the moment. The campus is exploding from its one story/barracks roots to a world-class university.

I first approached the new medical building.


I spotted three men sitting on the roof. They looked so relaxed sitting up on the open roof. I still love the scaffolding made of trees nailed together around five story buildings.


As I continued on my journey from the back of campus to the front of campus and the Equity Bank ATM I looked to the novelty tower being built on campus. I first watched construction of this tower in July of 2013 when I sat on a bench for the afternoon and read The Crucible and listened to the hammering and sawing behind the construction walls. It’s now ten months later and the tower may be reaching its’ full height. I don’t really know much about this tower except it is tall and thin and it looks like something visitors will climb to look at the views. I have been told it is patterned after a tower in Europe, but no one ever knows which one.


Conventional iron scaffolding was being used on this project at this point, and two men were putting an addition on the scaffolding at the very top.


Up on the roof indeed. Balanced. Risky. I couldn’t see faces from the ground, but my shots reveal a man smiling as he works. Joy up on the roof.


And then I continued on my way and BOOM, a third building revealed a surprise on the roof. I saw three men climb out through an opening to the very top of the new enormous Administration Building. This building sports an odd UFO-type, diamond-like structure at the top of the building, and I watched as three men (with ropes) began to affix the final panels.


They were so tiny and the job looked dangerous and frightening due to the odd shape and the decorative nature of the piece on which they were working.


And then, they spotted me. They began to wave. They gave me thumbs up. I was a tiny figure far across campus using my telephoto lens and they found me like I had found them and we waved at each other for a while.


I let them know they were seen.


Up on the roof. These are the coolest jobs on the campus of Kenyatta University, especially if you like heights.

Take the time to click and open these photos if you can. I know they open slowly. You will see men smiling while they work. Wide angle. Close up. It is worth it to look closely. It always is. You may be fearing what is actually joyful.

This entry was published on April 24, 2014 at 6:13 am. It’s filed under Culture, People, Places and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “UP ON THE ROOF

  1. Nyakweba Ron on said:

    As usual, I like the way you give meaning and life to everything you write on. I envy you. I belong to this campus…I love it.

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