Familiar Impressions

  • Kids continuously chanting ‘Owarrooo?’ (Translation: How are you?) as you pass, beaming when you respond with ‘Fine thank you, how are you?’
  • Chai with 10 million spoons of sugar. And having it in big flasks, ready to pour whenever you’re in need
  • The smell: it’s the first thing that hits you when you get off the plane. Breath in Africaa. It gets right into your bones.
  • African rain. When it rains, it rains!
  • Sitting on the backseat of the matatu with the music blaring (miss you Jane Sanderson!). Matatus are the main form of public transport here. They’re minibuses that are very old and rickety, falling apart. The driving is not for the faint-hearted…particularly if you board number 9, which belts out hip-hop music, with bass that goes right through you. The drivers follow no rules in order to get to their destination asap. And they train you to jump from moving vehicles, James Bond style!
  • The waging war on ants
  • Mosque man’s call to prayer that wakes you at 5am. Actually, I’m sleeping through it now. But it’s believed that Muslim’s when you hear the call to prayer, that’s where the Muslims have claimed the land. I refuse to believe this and am claiming it back for Jesus..
  • Dirt that gets up your nostrils, ingrained under your fingernails and your feet are permanently black, not matter how much you scrub

I spent a lot of yesterday on matatus. I took four matatus across town to get across town to church (I’m going to a vineyard church – quite Western and ‘middle-class’, but it’s just nice to be somewhere that’s familiar with home when everything else is so different). It takes an hour to get there and an hour home. So I had plenty of contemplating time (when the music wasn’t pounding through me!). One of the things I just love is just watching people out of the window. And realising this so feels like home to me. I love this city, these people.

And sure there are crappy parts too. The poverty is extreme. Corruption is everywhere. The crime rate is ridiculous. Prostitution is too common. Gender discrimination and violence is rife. I have stories I’ve seen and heard that break me, which I’ll share with you another time, ask you to pray, think about.

But for now, there’s something about this place that just gets right into me, into my very being that I can’t explain other than, right now, I’m home. This is where I’m meant to be.


7 thoughts on “Familiar Impressions

  1. Another wonderful message, full of evocative images.
    I’m writing snail-mail to you.
    Love you lots,
    Tante Tine xx

  2. Great to get another posting & hear more impressions! Forgot to tell you – I’ve sent you some ant-bait thingies so look out for them. Hope you’ll have the problem under control by the time we come out! Love you loads, xoxox

  3. Looking forward to receiving both your snail mails :-).

    Did you get my text asking for blue-tac? I’m wondering if my texts are getting through to you? XXX

    • No they’re not! Never got the one you mentioned when we skyped (suggesting we try to talk?) nor this one about blu-tak…….. perhaps we’d better stick to emailing??

  4. So great to read it all!! I can just picture it – and hear the sounds from the matatu blasting your eardrums! climbing over the sacks and plastic chairs and animals
    people have with them, to get to your seat!! You seem to have really got back into
    it all so well xx

  5. So..A special person like you in a special place!
    Difficult to understand if you never been there (like me) but your descriptions have helped me to realize how Africa could be!
    I looking foward to read every things you’ll fell, see and try again…
    big hug!

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