21 April 2009

Finding my swing

Two weeks away from here has thrown me a bit off kilter.  I was really hitting my stride when we packed up for the coast.  Now, back to Malava, I have to re-discover my routine.  This morning I went to the Honey Drop for mandazi and chai with Sue and reported to work.  I had new toys in tow from my trip to Kisumu and Nairobi and also additional stuff from my packages.  I was glad to be back at the centre where I could make fun of Neto and David for being Man U fans and kid around with Angela about anything.  I was semi-busy catching up on the past weeks registration.  The centre was busy but with babies.  We did not finish until 2pm.

I am also still recovering from vacation.  I woke up tired and need to catch up on rest.  We stayed in nice hotels in Mombasa and a beautiful retreat centre in Nairobi, but my best sleep was last night back in my room without a television, or bathroom, or air conditioning, or nice mattress, or pillow without lumps.  I found myself more at ease as I moved to a reclined position with the rain pounding the roof in a manner that used to keep me awake.  Malava is very much my home in Kenya and I am now certain after last night.  I had felt a disconnection due to my nationality, race, and language, but last night and today changed that feeling.  The boys rushed to see us when we arrived and asked about our trip.  In town people came up and welcomed us back.  Some even said that they missed us.  I do not take these statements as a personal attachment to the people who said it, but it is significant in terms of my place in Malava.  I was surprised to see that people were actually happy to have us back.  Some may have thought we were not going to return.  It is easy to recognize the tall white guy in Kenya and notice when he is missing, but I really do think that we are beginning to become a part of the community.  Shop owners asked how my trip went and thanked me for coming back to Malava and the shop.  I hope that if and when people come to visit they will get a chance to see this town and meet some of the people.  Michael and I laugh at the fact that we could cast a film around the characters in town, but it is part of the charm.

I longed to be in a city again for vacation and I wanted to go back home when I got there.  There is something about a small space with a large population that has always bothered me.  To me, a city is like a club/bar.  It is far too crowded, you get no sense of space nor population.  People bump into each other, tension runs high, violence is prevalent, superficial fleeting relationships are formed.  There is no time to talk let alone think.  The noise is relentless and nausea-inducing.  Yes, you can have a quick thrill here and there, but it is not a place to frequent or spend an extended period.  Some will swear by both, but you can give me the mountains, birds, homes, green and people of the countryside.