When you are in Kenya, time automatically slows down and you stop wondering what time it is and how late you are for this or that or the other. You tell time by asking your neighbour and bond over Bamba 50 airtime and overpriced food at international events.
You listen to music like “Nasikia Utamu” and you are aware of how being home is Nyummylicious ! It is mutura at KKs by the roadside and looking seriously for Imodium after the fact. It is downing large amounts of sweet fermented porridge, prepared by a loving grandmother. You are constantly aware of just how flavorful the water is, fluoride enriched and all, if you are upcountry.
If there are friends that you find, you are surprised how well they know you, so well that they read the changes the years have brought to your youthful facade. You are met by visits to see your nieces and nephews, heralding your entry into the world of being an auntie, a “shangazi” and your love for things baby – or ‘Waa Waa’ is called into focus.
You are acutely aware who left the city, because you rarely see them over the time that you are there. You are thankful that it is the holiday season, and that people put aside their differences to celebrate the season of good cheer.
If you are a real Kenyan, you spend beyond what you had planned in December and squeeze into January clothes rueing your indulgences. If just a Kenya traveller you are sure your groaning ATm card will show you pocket dust when you return. It is so sweet to be in the spirit of giving. You wonder when you will stop being in the EABL induced spirit of the season.
When you realise that Nameless’ lyrics are the cutest thing ever, you see a new something, and you are truly becoming corny. You know when you see the one whose sweet nothings once made your heart ‘paragasha!’ in high school you will wish you were 16 again but for a minute. The reality of how things have changed makes you happy. Ah, you know you are a grown-up, and you laugh over coffee, real Arabica from the Highlands with your old high school mates. You are no longer ill at ease at your old school, and even welcome to enter the staffroom and meet all your teachers, and yes, some ask you to call them by their first names…well, almost.
I am back for a season, however long that may be. Nothing will remove the flame of my home from where it is. I love Kenya, God bless us everyone.