wendete wa?

“Die beste Bildung findet ein gescheiter Mensch auf Reisen” (J.W.v.Goethe)

06-11d018

I was standing on the bridge to Garissa downtown when I received a very disturbing message that really pissed me off.
It was just like in a movie – standing on that bridge that connects the green countryside south of Tana River with the semi-arid north-eastern part of the country – the bridge that connects these two worlds, Coast and North Eastern Province – and the content of the message meant to be a final cut in some very personal things that had kept me busy for the last two years. Something where I instantly realized the ironic relationship between the message and this transition between both worlds. You cross the bridge and you’re in another world.
The beautiful part of it, though: the bridge opens to both worlds. And it’s up to you which way you go.

“Mapenzi ni kikohozi, hayawezi kufichika.”

Two days later I find myself on a funeral in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere being somewhere in Mwingi District – the sister-in-law of a colleague had died the other day after a long illness and we stopped by on our way back from Garissa.
Despite of the 3h sermon in Kikamba, of which I didn’t understand a single word (except for the greetings of course), this was a very touching experience.
Don’t ask me why, but funerals in Kenya aren’t as sad as they are in Germany. The circumstances that led to the death may often be irritating, but the whole procedure has a warmth one can only understand by witnessing it live.
Listen to the choir singing beautiful songs with warm voices, hear the village elders speak up and show their respect for the individual, catch the atmosphere and feel the community spirit. This is not a time to say good bye, but a reunifaction process that helps to give the body back to where it came from. A beautiful closing for the circle of life.

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While standing at the grave and strewing soil on the coffin, I managed to burry some of my aggregated hatred. The message that had pissed me off earlier is partly buried somewhere out there in Mwingi district, six feet under.

Travelling in Kenya also includes that you’ll be given a cackling hen from another colleague, who wants to share his wealth with you. So you eventually arrive back in Embu with that hen in the luggage (someone else took it) and think: travelling indeed broadens the mind.

p.s.: another irony – these rural places lack any electricity or tapped water, but I was aboool to check my emails via GPRS.

3 comments » Write a comment

  1. Ninaenda musyi!

    Hopefully in feb. I don’t even feel like commenting. I envy you so much. I just hope you know how damn lucky you are to be there and not here!

  2. Hi my friend, my hectic life in Washington DC and some in NYC :-)- check Flickr…has kept me from acknowledging the many, many posts that you have written and if I may comment for those others I have missed, great job for keeping us posted of trials and tribulations of your stay in KENYA

    ” and the content of the message meant to be a final cut in some very personal things that had kept me busy for the last two years. Something were I instantly realized the ironic relationship between the message and this transition between both worlds. You cross the bridge and you’re in another world”

    Hey for what is worth,whatever pissed you off, always know there is a brighter side of every bad news and it gets better with time and at times all one can do is learn from such.So Kijana wetu, keep smiling and keep making your blog my first stop in my E- morning jog…. Hey by the way , Mrs Irungu asked about that Githeri date and I said you have her number..I wash my hands now, you have no choice ati you are busy, that nyamachoma and tusker + THE githeri is awaiting you. Pole for writing this on ur blog but she insisted :-) …..

  3. JKE

    Getting hens is just great!

    One of the reasons I love going to shags.

    I don’t know how to kill them though so I have lots of trouble figuring out what to do with them. My in-laws solved that problem by slaughtering the hen and giving it to us dead. Now, a dead chicken, I know how to cook.

    Yum.

    Steve