Friday, 6 April 2012

Napenda Kenya!

Ahhhh Kenya, even the name of the country makes me smile! I’ve been to Kenya twice and can’t wait to return for more adventures! Every place I’ve been to  in Kenya sounds happy, and phonetically ends in an ‘oooh’ or ‘ahhhh’ or ‘eeeeee’ sound - Nakuru (oooh) Mombasa (aahhh) Lamu (oooh)Nairobi (eeeee), Kembu (you get the picture) Other countries and cities should take heed! Saying ‘Leeeeeeeeeeeeeds’ just isn’t the same…

I taught in a tiny school in Mombasa back in 2009 and just returned from another trip last September, but in the North of Kenya this time. Both trips were great fun, an eye opener and full of adventure with the friendliest people.

It might sound strange to others, but to me Kenya has a distinctive smell that instantly takes me back whenever I get a sniff of it elsewhere…it’s a hot smell of sunshine, charcoal, dust and a faint tinge of hot rubber along with something else that I can’t put my finger on. But I know that smell and I’d bottle it if I had the chance!

Teaching in Kenya holds so many memories for me… of children singing in their tiny classrooms, empty of resources and not a magic whiteboard in sight, children sitting at their wooden desks with their tiny backpacks still on their back because there’s nowhere to hang them up, eating their lunch in their classroom and shouting ‘thank you teacher’ as they run screaming out of the school building…sure their school is basic and made of mud, but they love school, love learning and can’t wait to come back tomorrow.

Travelling around Kenya holds so many memories for me…of being crammed in to a matatu van with 20 other people of varying background and ages, all staring at me with my huge backpack on my lap and wafting a novelty LED fan as if my life depended on it, African music blaring, horn bleeping and me squeezing my eyes shut to avoid the crazy scenes of traffic in front me! But being happy and content and not missing England a tiny bit – who really needs traffic lights anyway?

Eating and drinking in Kenya holds so many memories for me…of eating a kilo of goat and posho (all filler, no killer) with my hands, washing them in a tub of water after eating and washing it down with a bottle of Tusker beer. Lovely. Being on a bus and having men sell sticks of unidentified meat through the window... Not so lovely but still worth a try!

Kenyan sunsets, safari parks, delicious food, amazing beer, happy people, bright colours, tiny shops, loud music, cheery children, community spirit - a few of the reasons why I love Kenya and would recommend it to anyone.

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