Spaces between villages in East Africa

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Traveling is good.

When you travel,  you get a good sense of the problem that we share in this vehicle called humanity: from the Italian man holding on the hope of dying tourism industry in Malindi to the born-again lodging attendant who has to work over Christmas and sell beer in Arusha. From beach boys dying of cocaine sniff in Mombasa to the forsaken Maasai men leading emaciated cows to drink waters at places they don’t know, hoping that, they, and the cows, will make it.

Natalists will ask you, “is it worth a life?”

Philosophers will keep on asking, “what’s the point of life?” in their attempt to explain and give us hope for why we came around here.

These things will stress you as you travel, especially in between those long hours when you don’t have company. And even if you have any, they are better off in their dream worlds where they build castles in the air and destroy them as soon as they finish thatching them. The long hours and minutes of silence when the only thing happening is the driver shifting gears, stepping on the gas, and changing his gaze, once every twenty minutes.

What’s the best thing for your morning in Malindi – is it tea, juice, coffee or gin and tonic? Is it beer, whiskey or Vodka, and Coke?

“What’s the point of hard work, of grit, of hustling in the city?”

One of the biggest problems with chasing bills, looking at e-mails and responding to Facebook statuses is that it robs one of the opportunity to seize the moment, listen to own breath and catch the sight of a house fly darting aimlessly across the room. The risk of taking moments to catch up with the smell of life is that you will notice that a house fly works harder than a bee, and it has nothing to show for it.

And sadly so, you might discover that you are some housefly.

Traveling is good for planning.

Not the way you set up teams to chase some deadline, find a solution to a problem or work on closing a deal but planning in the form of throwing plans out of the window. It will surprise you that you have been working hard on things that will not help you define life or find a meaning. And trust me, we are all in this futile project to discover meaning, useless reason that deceives us that we are on the right track, that we will overtake our friends and enemies next year if we keep working hard.


                                                               Photo: Courtesy-Skycrapercity. 

Arusha is good. Malindi is better.

The sun in Malindi rises from nothingness, casting its venom on waters and making furious reflections that make you feel for ghosts that evangelical pastors keep talking about. You know, when the sun rises through the ribs of the mountains, casting glances in between tall trees or squeezing beams through folds of mountains, it kind of gives you some time to ponder your day, to think about the friend you are doing better than and the witchdoctor who holds the future of your dreams.

But in Malindi the sun comes a little too early, too fast, like a girlfriend living in another city who travels in a night bus to get at your place at 5:30 in the morning; hot, kinky and ready for glory hours. I don’t know how people like visitors who arrive a little too early, but I tend to think that it is a good thing for someone who likes to keep prepared, like a Kiamaiko butcher man whose main job is to keep slitting throats as if he is certain that there is no life after death.

It is a little bit hard to know what’s the best thing for your morning in Malindi – is it tea, juice, coffee or gin and tonic? Is it beer, whiskey or Vodka, and Coke? Or should you just smoke by the shore thinking about your girlfriend who’s having a secret affair with your best friend? Trying to figure out how are you going to tell her how you found out?

Arusha is easy. It’s a beer in the morning, any beer.

Once you step into Arusha all your questions about life get sudden answers. The point of life is to have a “good drink”, and the city has more than 10 beer varieties all made to satisfy your curiosity.

But Malindi is better because you will not forget your problems.


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