First days in Africa ... figuring it out.
So much happens in a day. It’s hard to keep track when it is all new ; that’s what is so amazing about travel. When everything is new, you can see the everyday in a new way.
In a day, i learned how to pee in a hole - sort of, I still cant figure out how not to splash my feet (wah) when it hits the cement. I watched a goat be slaughtered and then ate it hours later, after the Margoli poepl had butchered it and grilled it over a small wood grill out front in the yard. The road to their village was piled too high with dirt at the entrance, so we took tuk-tuks — motorcycles — over deep red mud rutted deep with guys who ferret people around for a living, wearing knee-high Wellingtons.
I puttered past forest on the way to Jidereri, with school kids and young men alike yelling “mzungu!” every 2 minutes, surprised to see a white person in their neghborhood.
I saw guys cutting huge logs, taken from the national forest and made into planks for construction, because someone from the government got themselves a permit to log in the national forest, then sell it off for profit.
I ]had food I never ate and never considered exiting, such as mehrere, a bitter green leafy vegetable best described as “slippery” and “earthy,” that ha stye unfortunate consistency to slip off your spoon like spittle, as well as ugali, a mix of maize flour and water made into a thick cake.
I now eat with my hands, except for rice. Rice is eaten with a spoon.
I leanred how to take an African-style bucket shower, which is the same as the Central American ones, but you take it right next to the toilet and we boil a tea kettle of water to add to the larger bucket so we don’t freeze.
I have been greeted by Margoli people in their Sunday best and traditional dress, singing traditional welcoming songs and made jokes with them like I had not just met them 2 hours earlier.
I relearned that so many things are different here, but again for the most part if is surface. The Maragoli people I visited? They have lived their entire life in this western part of Kenya, close to Uganda, beside the forest and often times, for many,food is a staple that is hard to come by. For people like Linet, when her husband was sick, she tried to take him to the hospital, but could not. They buy a goat from Cheptulu town, walk it back into the paths to Jedereri, and slit its throat beside the maize field, then skin and butcher it and cook the meat or boil it.
They look different, talk different, speak a small African language no one has ever heard of and hardly documented, and will never ride in an airplane that I took to get here and complained of the 30-hour commute.
But there we were, them greeting me with hugs and smiles and over the course of the day we are talking and “being” as friends. everywhere you go, people are the same.
That’s the thing of travel. The wonder. Everything is new and you sense it all wit new eyes and gain an appreciation for the world and the moments you have in it.
At the same time you are reminded anew with each time we make a connection that below the surface of peeing in a hole or anything else, we are the same. That is the joy of travel.