Kulturschock & Co.

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:

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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.

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“Don’t be jealous that I’ve been chatting online with babes all day!”. ROFL :-)

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…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.

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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!).

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Didn’t I tell you I wanted to become a chicken farmer?

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And THEN….ahhh….check this out:

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Ati? :-)

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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….

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:-)

17 comments » Write a comment

  1. “LUHYAS, cooks and watchmen”, LOL LMAO …….”Of Kamba and issue of Kamuti” ha!ha! and YEAH THE MOTHER OF ALL “of Kikuyu’s and love for money” – And why not?

  2. i agree you really should blog about Germany. Love the pics make for a great way to start the day. LOL at tribal satire….

  3. Aki You made my day, i tried taking a cold shower to me remind of home***never try to take a cold is imprinted in my brain**** i froze yani literally, and the cheap food, even tho half of it ni junk and yes am taking of the cheese burgers and all. Those pictures are hilarious, the unbwogable chant was good, maybe they should revive it.

    Since you have been so generuos, i shall do a post on life in canada and apart from ice hockey i dont think there is much but wacha ni nyamaze kabla this canucks find out and fukuza me.

  4. Aki You made my day, i tried taking a cold shower to me remind me of home***never try to take a cold is imprinted in my brain**** i froze yani literally, and the cheap food, even tho half of it ni junk and yes am taking of the cheese burgers and all. Those pictures are hilarious, the unbwogable chant was good, maybe they should revive it.

    Since you have been so generuos, i shall do a post on life in canada and apart from ice hockey i dont think there is much but wacha ni nyamaze kabla this canucks find out and fukuza me.

  5. Nice post! I agree you should write about Germany kidogo. When I was young, one of the books in my collection was ‘Rommel – The Desert Fox’ and I read it about 4 times before I lost it in High School. I haven’t been to foreign lands much but from what I gather, the simple complexity that is Kenyan life is missed by many abroad.

  6. “buy me one calenda. for only 50 bob. buy for me, pleeez”
    ;-)
    big thx for the embu experience, jke.

  7. Those book titles made my day! I am sure one day you will be back in Kenya, quicker than you know it!

  8. Are those books for real? Gotta see them in real life.
    Kenya gets into your bloodstream and remains in your heart. It’s hard to explain it to outsiders who don’t really get the ironies of life there. Like your description of a cheap hoteli in a mabati building and a luxurious classy restaurant coexisting.
    All the best to you in Germany.

  9. you are unbwogable — you continue to be the kenyan among us kenyans..keep blogging

  10. Kambas, kamuti then the picture of the witch on the broom stick zooming off. Master-stroke! :)
    Patriotism, like M said, isn’t particularly edible so KTs do what they have to. Half of them wouldn’t bother if they didn’t have to.

  11. LOL! you appear to be among the scores of us who weren’t ready to leave Kenya and are pining after her like she was a lover we were forced to leave behind. You’re in good company.

  12. Awesome as City boy living in Embu bundus I can empathise with your views, they are so vivid. Wish I could get a hand on those satirical books on Kenyan Tribes I always enjoy a laugh!!!

  13. I am an upcoming writter and publisher of a french language book for beginners or reviewers,the books is well explained in english with french pronunciation and translations.I came up with the idea since the french text books are low in kenya and students need some simple books that one can review with or without the french teacher in an affordable price of 350kshs per copy
    have a look in the site and leave comments or questions..Thankyou!