You know you’re back in Kenya when you start having crazy conversations with random people. Conversations that make you smile afterwards at how bizarre things in Kenya can be.
‘Could you ever love people like me? Could you love people with black skin?’ the matatu driver asked. I was a bit bemused by the question – why would I be here in Kenya if I hated black people?! Does he think all mzungu are racist?! I set him straight, ‘well, yes! I love many people!’
Now he looked surprised, rather shocked even, ‘Really? All people?’ As if that could never be possible.
‘Yes!’ I replied, ‘black, white, asian, I like everyone!’
‘Huh’ He responded, looking confused, and now speechless, letting the information sink in.
A little while later, out of the blue, he said, ‘so will you make love to me?’
Now I was the one rather speechless. I laughed at the absurdity of it! ‘What?!! … No!’ I laughed at him, wondering where that question had come from – out of the blue… He looked genuinely disappointed, as if he were expecting me to say yes! As if he were expecting me to say yes, of course, I’d love to! I’ve been waiting this whole matatu journey for you to ask me that!
‘Why? Why not me?’ He asked, forlornly. I had to laugh again, at how he really couldn’t seem to believe my answer was no.
‘Nope, definitely not’ I replied, still laughing. We proceeded to have a little conversation about why not, as the conversation turned more and more strange.
It’s only now, looking back that I connected the two conversations. No wonder the matatu driver was a little bit surprised when I said I love many people… I believe he understood me to be saying I make love to many people. Oh the miscommunication…!! (He graciously accepted my response was no, you’ll be pleased to know)
Another slightly bizarre conversation arose later on in the day, this time with my taxi driver. Before flying back to England in January, on the way to the airport, my taxi driver told me my mum would be disappointed that I would be going back home ‘like an electricity post. You are going back with no branches. No husband, no children. Nothing. Like a post.’ Today, when I saw him for the first time since coming back, he said ‘Ah, I know why you are back. Your mother has sent you back here because you went home with no branches. Now you must have children. Your mother will not allow you back to England until you have branches. She does not want a post.’ Mum, what do you say?
Yep…I’m back in Kenya. Day one.