April Holidays in Mombasa

April 28, 2013 - Mombasa, Kenya

The trip from Tanga to Mombasa took much longer than we thought. Our observation was: Kenya seems dirtier than Tanzania. We arrived very late but my host-father was ready to pick us up.

My host-mother had prepared “Pilau” my favorite Swahili-food. She told me that she was expecting more communication during my month abroad. This is something I really have to learn while I’m here. People stay connected all the time.

I was happy to be able to show my parents the town I’m living in now. All of us had the perception that after this quiet time for ourselves we had to struggle with all those sounds and smells and sights in Mombasa. It is hectic. And the heat… I miss the German temperatures.

As soon as my parents left I found out some terrible news about other German volunteers from AFS. 7 of them left back to Germany because of that. It would be too much to tell everything here. But it was not only robbery. This kind of news makes my family and friends worry of course but I still want to stay here. I want to learn so many things. And see places. One thing has changed though: I never come back home after 7pm and AFS advised us not to take Tuk-Tuks when it’s late because they can easily take wrong streets to then harm us. I never had to take so much care of my life before.

Apart from that, the normal life has found its way back to me. I am visiting my new old friends, I went to see the teachers in school (they tuition some kids there even though it’s not allowed) and they took me to the “Baxton-Ghetto” of Mombasa to eat very fine food.

I helped my host-mother with her new Facebook-Account, with the help of my host-father I got my Visa-extension for only 200 Kshs instead of 2.200 Kshs and I experienced the tired feeling in the morning after it has rained.

I am still so amazed of the friendliness and the help that Kenyans (and Tanzanians also) offer. A funny example: During a walk in the streets, we came across a TAUSENDFUESSLER. A friend of mine just threw it to the other side of the street asking the animal “do you want to cross?” and explained to me: “we have to help everyone. And greet everyone to get to know many people. You never know. Maybe you are in need of their help some day”.

The news is showing the floods in upcountry where people are losing their loved ones and where they have to harvest while diving. It is hard to imagine, that all this happens in the same country that I’m in now. Mombasa is hot all the time.

My host-sister was participating in the National Drama Festival. It took place in Mombasa, so we went to watch some plays. It is fun to see the traditional dances on stage. A week ago, they performed “Shackles of Doom”, a play that almost had been banned. Because it’s criticizing politics – especially the Kikuyu-Tribe. This  day, Hassan Omar, the now senator of Mombasa came. It was all over the news. But why should they ban a play about Kikuyus while plays about the Masai for example can be shown? There must be something wrong. They feared obviously. The comments on TV said Uhuru Kenyatta should watch it to understand the public opinion and to evaluate his choice of Ministers.

My host-mum takes good care of me, that’s why she wanted me to participate a “Teens Class for Holidays” organized by the church. 5 days of Bible lessons and lessons about Confidence, Self discipline, Sexuality, Assertiveness, Compromise, Peer-Pressure, Media, Marshall Arts and the Illuminati in the music industry. Some of those things were absurd. One of the teachers showed us music-videos of famous artists and explained symbols and other hints they are using to influence the “Teens” with satanic ideas. But he also said that Yoga for example is bad, sexist. I studied Yoga for almost one year and I am still doing some Yoga exercises every morning. In this case he really doesn’t know what he is talking about.

The church also promised, to do community service – to clean the streets. But the officials didn’t give the permission to pick up litter in the street. How can one understand this? They don’t want volunteers to clean their city?

All these days I was the eldest and the only white. It was the same in the crowded hall of the Drama Festival. I felt exposed and lost between all those people. Why are they always staring at me as if they have never seen a white person before? Every evening, many people are watching (Mexican?) soaps, where there are only white people. It shouldn’t be this big of a shock. I wonder how it feels like to be here in ten years. Or twenty.

As a conclusion after three months I can say: it’s not advisable to have the parents here for a visit. It makes homesick. Really getting into a culture takes time. This third month makes me slowly realize that I am in Kenya now and I am here for a long time. I am missing my friends and family a lot but at the same time, I couldn’t go back to Germany now because all of this is I big opportunity that I’ll only get this time. I want to use it and learn as much as possible. I am thankful to everyone who is supporting me. I feel honored to be able to be here!

 


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3 Comments

Sonja:
April 28, 2013
hello everyone =)
it's hard to get a good connection to the net these days, thats why i'm only uploading the entries. but i'm always reading everything. i'm fine and safe. greetings from rainy mombasa
Alex:
May 4, 2013
hello Sonja =)

it seemms life is much tougher now after your parents'visit. do'n t worry! as soon as you get more involved in the local culture that would be rid of your mind (although it is always good to have your family and friend in mind.

I'm really jealous of your trip there, sounds amazing! even if you have strange and anti-sathanio meetings :P Iwas freaking out when I read that.

hope everything goes well and let us know more about your trips. kisses and hugs
brown:
May 29, 2013
Mombasa sure is a nice town,check amazing travel guides at http://www.booksfromus.co.ke/ for other amazing sites you can check in Kenya
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