Jambo Bwana!

Jambo! (Hello!)

Karibou (Welcome!)

Assante’ Sana (Thank you very much)

Hakuna Matata (No Problem!)

Kwaheri (Bye!)

Astonishing how the five words of Swahili that I learned when I visited Kenya … wait … (has it been over a DECADE ago )  is a full conversation as well!

I was 12 when I visited Kenya, my mother and I welcomed the New Millennium while dancing on the bridge of the Voyager Beach Resort in Mombasa. That was the last leg of our trip and the only ” non”  safari  of the two-week long holiday.

But Kenya was all about what a ‘safari‘ is. To see ‘Game’ – a kaleidoscope of wildlife and plant species up close, yet while they are in the wild.

Mom and I visited the wilderness in Masai Mara, Pink Flamingos at Lake Nakuru, had leopards reach the window of our bus while returning from ‘the Ark’, sat beside a giant tortoise at an animal orphanage in Mt. Kenya National Park and even tried eating at Carnivore – the famed restaurant in Nairobi which was fundamentally a misfit as we are two vegetarians by choice!

Kenya was also the holiday that had an equal number of adventures and mis-adventures ; our driver, a 6’6 inch tall lanky gentleman called Nooriu in his colourful shoes and lumbering gait  declared to us – ” You two, most lucky women in all my years with Game! Forty years I come to Masai Mara, I never see so much Game before!” Because my Mother and I witnessed two male lions, attack, kill and eat …. another LION!

Back in 1999, we did not have a good camera let alone a digicam so the photographs I have shall be scanned from my home in Ahmedabad and pasted here someday.

In the meantime, as I sit here in my hostel room in Delhi, typing away fond recollections – hazy pictures in my head come before me.

I remember asking my mother if we could take back an adorable baby giraffe home, as after watching it  scamper  around its mother, I began mimicking its trot when we reached our guestroom.

I remember looking straight into a leopard’s eye and thinking “Someday I shall be like you!”  

"The tattoo on my waist"

My Panther tattoo - for my love of Big Cats in the Wild!

Today I have a panther tattoo on waist, a small tribute to Big Cats, a fascination that began since that moment.

I remember having one foot in the Northern hemisphere and one foot in the Southern Hemisphere  for a photo – op as we crossed the Equator, eating some coconut bought from a souvenir shop!

I remember watching dark red sunsets against bare trees on the Savannah, and thinking – this is the real Lion King terrain so, I kept a watch for Meerkats and Warthogs, Babboons and Hyenas, Lions and Hornbills and would wonder if they had names similar to the characters in the Lion King movie. (Incidentally I might have watched that movie over a hundred times, minimum!)

But mostly ; I  remember telling my mother  while we were driving from Nairobi to Mombasa- “People are mistaken when they stereotype Africa to be of violence, poverty and backwardness – everything I have seen of Kenya is of Music, Smiling faces, Harmony and people, who will say ‘Jambo’ to every man, woman or child while passing by!”

This entry was posted in 'S'milestones, Lessons from my Musings! and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s