Kenya is beautiful: beautiful people, beautiful land and most of all we pride in our very beautiful cultures. Not the kind of love that we get trending on hashtags on social media networks, or the one we are too used to when taking selfies in front of our posh cars, don’t get me wrong selfies are just too awsome, but that’s not what we are aiming at here. This kind of beautiful beats the celebrity status gunnered by jeans too ripped to recognize 100 nil, or the occasional Bentley Continental Phantom that rides our streets in custom plates tinted all over.
This isn’t about opulence, never about price nor decorative beauty, but the raw kind of beauty, the one that you gaze at too much, you lose yourself, forget everything you know and for a moment you are a student absorbing the mysteries of the world. The one that shakes you to your roots, challenges all your beliefs and rips at your values and stands.
Probably that’s what the Chinese & Arab traders discovered, ions ago, when they set sail on our shores lasting for a life time, leaving country & family behind,probably what our colonial masters envied of us. May be the reason why Africa still enjoys the kind of tourists we have, the kind who come to stare, paying top dollar to watch nature unfold, to watch the untainted wild roar freely.
It is hard to speak of Kenya’s beauty without talking of Africa’s, seeing as we share the same slice of cake, the bitter & sweet together. We share borders so porous to our indigenous communities that deciding on the true owners of a piece of rock suspended on a lake proofs too tricky to solve. Wasn’t the great and mighty rain forest ones a stretch from Kenya all the way through Western Africa, didn’t the Cushites traverse across our North Eastern region across Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti unabated? Don’t the Maasai cross the Tanzania – Kenya border unawares of the bureaucratic governments manning such. See the connections? I ones saw a Congolese who could play my brother so well my mother would second guess her births. Tricky stuff folks.
The beauty within us is so simple that one not so detailed wouldn’t notice, the simple ease with which a stranger would knock on your door to ask for a glass of water (sorry Nairobians this might be unheard from whence you hail) Crazier still is when one welcomes the stranger indoors, playing the faithful host. The level of trust and brotherhood is just mind-blowing. The fact that a woman would pick a crying infant by the road side, comfort him/her, talk to them and get them to their home after much enquiry all besides their busy day. ALAS!! Kindness has a face and it is AFRICA!! Tales have it that missionaries and adventurous criss crossing our nation before colonization would get welcomed to villages and communities, fed, housed & entertained, why then would we be surprised when our Government opens its borders to our warring neighbors.
Our people are always eager to learn and grow; my old mother keeps insisting that she will get a smartphone soon despite her not being able optimally use her small keypad phone, impressive as always! Or the old lady outside our flat who insists on attempting high fashion;clothes, heels & makeup, despite her superior age. The simple lady who toils day & night to avail chapati, mandazi & late night teas to drunks & insomniac students all in abid to buy herself a Prado, or one of those huge Toyota VX’s politicians show off. This might seem far-fetched but very real, suddenly ‘Audacity of Hope’ has a face, and it’s…….
From the sprawling arid lands up north we find the plain Nilotes who prefer to donne shukas & tiled shoes with a jerrican of water on their backs all day as opposed to the lavish lifestyle we all aspire to, irregardless of the fortunes they tuck under their sheds on a regular, to the streets of Nairobi where we find the youths who wake up from high-priced bedsitters; cashless and jobless but find a way to bring home two thousand shillings without fail to their similarly young girlfriends & baby-mamas. Living peacefully day by day, riding the wave that is an ever changing national economical demographic.