I am walking into town. A black man falls into step beside me.
Karibu! he says. Welcome to Kenya. Where are you from?
The U.S., I say.
Oh, he says. You do not look like an American. I thought Australia. Where in the U.S.?
Ohio, he says. A very important state. You voted for Obama.
Yes, I say. We did.
Do you like him?
Yes, I still do. But change has been slow.
Yes, yes, he says. Change is slow.
What about you? Do you like Kibaki? I ask, referring to the Kenyan president who also ran as an agent of change.
Mmmm, he says. Change is slow.
We walk in silence for a while. After a while he asks brightly, What is the weather like in Ohio?
Cold. I hear it's snowing.
Snow! he exclaims. It is always warm here. Do you know what I saw? In the airport a man was crying because he had to go home. He said he was sad to leave our climate. Can you believe that? A man! Crying!
Yes, I say, I can believe that.
This snow, he asks. I don't understand. Once, I went up Mt. Kenya. My hands, they went like this. He shows me his hands, like a claw. Is it always like that?
Yes, I say. It is.
What do you do then?
We stay inside. In our houses.
Inside! he says. That is bad.
Now you understand why that man was crying, I say.
Yes, yes, he says. It is because he has no freedom.