Last week found me traveling the East African side of the continent. As a child, i believed you needed to know your own country first, and then your neighbours, a little bit more about the rest of your continent before globe trotting!!
So here i was – bags packed, passport in pocket on my way to make this dream bear fruit.
Kenya is a beautiful country- unlike anything i presume i will ever see. It is after all Home to me. The countryside stretched on for miles and miles, dwindling in the first Easter rays- colluding into a wintry affair amidst misty clouds and ending up pierced in the dawning African sun.
The roads stretched on and on- until we reached the Kenya – Tanzania border. Captivating. The hills on the right felt like they were picked right out of the oriental Kashmir border. The exit from my motherland a flurry of trucks and people bustling in and out of the countries.
Walking on to no-man-land was somewhat mixed up. I never did expect so much confusion, i never did expect so much commotion. I never did expect it to look so normal- but yet that was it. So much for my flowery expectations!
And then there was the board.
” You are now entering Tanzania. Welcome.”
It didn’t get any better. There i was finally in Eastern Africa. Ready to explore another country.
You wouldn’t expect much difference in a country so close. Its somewhat like having a person so close to your heart- like your better half and feeling like you are so alike- but when the reality sets in – its the similarity in the differences that actually bind your relation together. So here i was in Tanzania – i could already feel the difference.
Sweeter Swahili- more complicated Swahili compared to our Kenyan one. Polite tones.
“Naomba” ….. “Tafadhali” …..You will not go anywhere without these 2 words! Believe you me- the lady in the bus almost got ignored on alighting for not using these words. Sigh!! Beautiful manners fellow Africans!! But here in Kenya- that shall never work- sadly!!
What surprised me the most – was the nature of their roads. Stretching out for miles and miles in perfection. Straight. It was different. I was so used to the Kenyan twists and turns, bumps and potholes- this felt new! Almost surreal.
It got me thinking. You think you know a country- like you think u know a person. but the diversity within a person can be so vast- and you can but just accept it. That when you accept the reality of things – it feels so much better. You can appreciate it for what it is and not what you want. You discover something different from what you were used too.
And that this difference is what makes 2 individuals come together. To forge a bond and merge as neighbours. To feel alive in either country – yet strangers at each others borders.
All said and done- there lay my passport stamped haphazardly yet distinctly –
Exit Kenya. Entry Tanzania.
And that folks- was the beginning of a lovely Easter Holiday!!
Keep reading as i write about the rest of this serene get away!!!
x x x