Third family and other things

October 12, 2013 - Mombasa, Kenya

As promised I moved to the new family as soon as the month of September started. What I noticed about myself: I didn’t feel any anxiety knowing that I was going to be in a whole new situation again. A small Muslim family, a mother and her 21 year-old son. They stay in one of the oldest houses in the center of old town, which is like a labyrinth really. It took me some days not to get lost anymore on my way home…

We get along very well. We talk, she introduces me to her many relatives who stay all over Mombasa, and her son gives me a complete new picture on the Muslim youth. There is a lot more going on behind those strict values and rules.

Since I live with this kind family, I’m able to perceive more positive things. For example I can enjoy sitting at the side of a very busy noisy road, in the middle of a crowd, tasting the best and cheapest food. Also I’m surprised how much I can even like the fact that its actually fun not to be able to plan anything, because it happens very often, that I’m meeting someone unexpectedly and then we just decide to go somewhere to have a chat.

And of course, the beach is the best. Sometimes it looks like the Caribbean. Thanks to the dry season which has started, it’s becoming hotter.

I started cooking at home, after I went to the kitchen for three weeks. Learning comes from making mistakes. And at home I was completely alone.

Now I can really say “I know Swahili Dishes”, because I have made some mistakes during the process of learning. When I went to say goodbye to the staff in the kitchen they were very sad and told me to come back and visit them as soon as possible.

By the way, it’s normal to find people who have BIG families. For example, my boss from Reachout Centre Trust has thirteen siblings. And all of them have kids on their own.

Celebrating a birthday in the Muslim culture is different. Usually they don’t even celebrate it. Because it’s like celebrating your death, since every birthday lets you come closer to death.

Therefore the party for my host-brother was very small.

Something that shocks me every time is how little trust people have in their maids or house helps.

In general trust is a problem. A few days ago thieves tried to steal dustbins. They have gotten their punishment by the mob-justice. Another incident: After washing my clothes, my host-mum told me not to leave them outside overnight because the neighbor might steal them.

A statement I remember from a TV-Interview: “Monogamy is just simple love. Polygamy is much better – it’s love and management!” I leave it without comment.

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