A Few New Friends

Kenya is a friendly place, the people are beautiful and the living seems to be pretty easy on the coast. One of the employees at the hostel (resort) I’ve been spending my time at seems to have taken a liking to me. I compliment his East African music all of the time and I think he likes that. Yesterday evening he sat me down and showed me a bunch of music videos on a projector in the kitchen. He was able to explain to me what all of the artists and singers are singing about, things ranging from love to eating to living with AIDS. He tells me he is going to take me to an African disco one of these nights – he promises there will be no western music. Hamisi is his name, I have no way of knowing whether that is how to spell it or not, but he keeps telling me to go back to American, make a bunch of money and then come back and live like a king in Kenya. I like the way he thinks, but I’m not sure I could live in Kenya for more than a few months, it seems to be a hard life for some of the people. Although, they are, in general, much happier than we are in America. What’s up with that? Since arriving here I’ve noticed that even the little orphans who have no family, get no attention, and eat the same nutrition-less food everyday while wearing torn clothing are SO happy. Why aren’t those of us who live in the developed world happier? I mean, if I wanted to, I could buy myself a nice dinner, new clothes, live in a nice place and surround myself with the people I love and probably still not achieve the level of happiness that the people here seem to just have naturally. It’s something worth looking into. I think at this point I have noticed that it has something to do with the amount of material things that they possess. They put their focus on things that cannot be held. Things like love, God, passion…things that are worth respecting. It is worth noting though, Hamisi, being the good man that he is, lost a relative in a car accident earlier this week, and although he was not happy to have lost someone he loves, he simply shrugged and said to me, “it is in the past, I cannot change that.” When he returned to the hostel he told me he was glad to have seen his family, then he started dancing with me to the African music I was so invested in. A good man.

Scott, the owner of the hostel, is also worth noting here. He has graciously opened up his home to us and is feeding us as well. Visiting the coast would not be possible without him.

These last four days have been nothing like the first 31. I spend my time relaxing by a pool, reading books (Whale Rider, The Trouble With Emily Dickinson, The Iceberg Hermit and Disgrace (written by a South African), walking on the white sandy beaches of the Indian Ocean, and enjoying the company of hostel guests from all around the world. I keep telling myself that this time is important. I need to recollect my thoughts before moving on, although I am quite looking forward to heading to Uganda within the week.

Wildlife on the coast is unique. I have not seen any big animals since arriving but there are a variety of monkeys and baboons here. They have no fear of humans, so they go about their days as usual and it’s easy to spot them in the trees, hanging out of fences, or crossing the road. Oh, the road! Our main modes of transportation here are motorbikes and Kenyan taxis called matatus. These are two very unique ways to travel, motorbikes are able to weave in and out of traffic and get you to where you need to be quickly, while matatus are crowded but dirt cheap. I like both, but I don’t think you’d ever see wither mode of transportation in the states, at least not in the same way they are used here.

A closing thought:

Thank you for all of the messages, comments and e-mails you have been sending me. Although I am not able to respond readily, I want you to know that it means the world to log onto a computer every few days (or weeks) and be able to hear from you all.

We’ll talk soon,

Matthew/Matty

About mattylife

"And no one is a stranger...for long."
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One Response to A Few New Friends

  1. Larry Litwin says:

    Your observation about the people being so happy made me think back to Dominica. At the time we were there the average annual income was $3,500 – and that was average. Some (most) were probably living on much less. Yet the people were very happy. I think Hamisi hit the nail on the head. “it is in the past, I cannot change that.” I think the happiest people are those who live neither in the past nor (too far) future but only in the now. They don’t agonize over coulda, shoulda, woulda. Nor to they torment themselves with what MIGHT happen. They are simply centered in the only place there really is – now. Almost impossible for us “civilized” folk.

    Reminds me of a quote – “My life has been filled with terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.”
    — Mark Twain

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