Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 19: Old Friends

Planning multi-country travel from rural South Africa in 2007 proved fairly challenging. The result was a total change in plans that had me flying to Kenya by myself as my travel companions would still be in Mozambique. With no real plans and worry that I'd be a bit shell shocked trying to navigate the city on my own, I reached out to a professor at my alma mater who I'd met at a couple of Africa-focused dinners before my departure. She provided my first window into Kenyan hospitality by putting me in touch with her brother Daniel, who sight unseen picked me up from the airport. I am not even sure how we figured out who each other were, but that first greeting gave way to 4 days of total immersion into the Nairobi social scene. We did lots of tourist stuff, lots of craft market shopping (I mean this is me, right?) and lots of raising our bottles of Tusker. I met a handful of his friends who became my first friends in this country. They picked me up at the airport over a year later when I returned, and have provided some of my most fun (and crazy!) memories to date with camping trips and nights on the town. I saw a couple of them last night for the first time in ages and I gotta say, no matter how much time goes by I just love these people.

I haven't traveled widely in Africa but the countries and towns I've been to have all presented a similar reality when it comes to the passage of time. Relationships here do not depend on constant contact to survive. There is an understanding and an appreciation for the ebb and flow - and time ends up flying without the perception that it has passed at all. I love that the result is friendships and relationships that can be rekindled at the top of an evening and are always there to remind you of your roots.


unspoken said...


Great little insight into the relationships that can be developed from travelling throughout the world (it isn't specific to Africa).

Did you make it to the coast of Kenya? I have heard there is great swimming with Whalesharks along the coast. Any truth to that?

Megan said...

So true - as with most of my experience in Kenya, it was just about "life" learning and insight - not necessarily specific to Kenya or Africa as a whole.

I spent time on the coast but steered clear of sharks ;)