Oh oh oh…Germany. Kulturschock.
I’ve spent the last four month in a dusty room in Embu, Kenya, and was happy with my life. Of course, there was loud music every night due to the bar next door. Frequent power failures, especially on mondays (which is why there are no workshops in Embu on mondays), used to be part of the game and the water sometimes required some filtering. Heck, I even killed a few Embu roaches and ate mud when I sliped on matope infested roads on my daily work to the office.
But it was nice. It was nice because I didn’t ask for anything else + it was enough luxury for me. Also, I was used to it. I am settled in Kenya. I grew up in Nairobi, this vicious little kijiji with a golden heart. I have my favourite hairdresser in Nairobi (hey, that IS important), I have my friends there, I know where to get my car radio repaired, I know many shortcuts in town to avoid the usual traffic jams, there are shops where you can buy anything you’ll need and there are good fundis who can quickly repair your car on a sunny Sunday afternoon. With or without my own car, I just know how to survive in Nairobi, Embu and other parts of the country. I live(d) in these two worlds Binyanvanga described the other day, and it just works. Home is where your heart is, they say, and my heart is in Nairobi.
Kenya…and as much as I will always remain a mzungu for those who just judge by skin colours, I still believe that I am sometimes even more Kenyan than many others who traded their patriotism in for a better life abroad. The beautiful thing about Kenya, I think, is that you can always be proud of the country no matter how far away you are and how stupidly some GoK officials behave.
And then I arrived back in Germany. I didn’t want to return at this time, I still had other plans in Nairobi, and also had some work to do. But life is ….well, I had to return. So here I am now.
And maybe you can do a post on what Germany is like coz i have a friend who has been telling to kuja and after asking for what i shall be seeing once there all i have got were erm’s and pauses.
…fellow blogger D_Q asked the other day. Yeah! I should actually write a bit more about Germany like I’ve done before when I joined the blogosphere & KBW in June 2005. Something to compare these two worlds, something that will make you guys feel welcome here in Germany. Something nice.
You ask tourists about Kenya, and they reply something like “oooh, that’s such a beautiful country…and the ppl were so nice!”. Yes, why shouldn’t they? At least, they live in a beautiful country. :-)
I wish I could say the same about Germany. Not that it isn’t a beautiful country, but I sometimes think ppl don’t or can’t appreciate all that luxury they are enjoying here. Have you ever experienced the feeling when you turn on a shower with clean hot water that’s safe for drinking? Or 24/7/365 uninterupted power supply at a constant level? Or smooth roads? Or even broadband internet?
The most of you have, I guess, but many of you also know the difference, and what life back home is alike. We know about these different worlds, and even in cities like Nairobi you can easily have lunch somewhere in small hoteli built of corrugated sheets in a muddy place, and dinner somewhere in a very posh place where cocktails start from Ksh. 300/= onwards.
See? I am still talking about Kenya. It is here with me. All these little impressions and things that filled up every day. I can’t talk or write about Germany now, not at this time, maybe during the next few weeks.
Instead, let me pls share some of the things I caught on camera while doing some shopping during the last few days at home:
Ok, so I came across this t-shirt on a 2nd hand market for clothes in Embu. Yeah! So you all know BECK’S beer – but you don’t know that it actually comes from Bremen, where I am right now.
“Don’t be jealous that I’ve been chatting online with babes all day!”. ROFL :-)
…and then you walk into Jatomy, Embu’s 2nd biggest supermarket, go upstairs where they sell all kitchen stuff and the inevitaboool stuff Made in China.
Mbuzimoja and I stood in front of this shelve and wondered what this “thing” is supposed to be. I am clueless. Fun, anyone?
(and WHO buys these things????
The other thing I like doing whenever there’s some time during lunch breaks is to stroll through older bookshops. Those ones where you still find older books that sell for something below Ksh. 100/=. Like Chania Bookshop on Moi Avenue.
Here is where you’ll find the last two remaining copies of the loooooong time out-of-print “Wilderness Guardian” handbooks, which are selling for Ksh. 1700/=, and which I really recommend to anyone who diggs such manuals. (story goes that in around 1999, I tried to get a copy of it from an online bookshop based in the UK, and after 3 months they informed that this thing wasn’t available anymore. My jamaa Kilonzo then organized it for me some time later on. So if you come across some fresh copies, go and get them!).
Didn’t I tell you I wanted to become a chicken farmer?
And THEN….ahhh….check this out:
The “TOP SIX ODM-KENYA WARRIORS”, beautifully arranged in a collage for a 2007 calendar next to a Kenya Cabinet poster and other indescribabrrrry kitsch. :-)
Now you know why my love for Kenya is….