Tuesday, July 30, 2019

5 Things I'll Miss Most from Kenya

Two years went by in a flash, and it's time for us to say kwaheri (goodbye) to Kenya. I struggled a bit writing this post because I didn't know how I could pick just five things I'll miss from our time here, but I thought I could give readers at least a taste of what makes this beautiful country so unforgettable. So here's just a snapshot of the top five things I'll miss once we're gone:

  1. The People: Kenyan people are some of the warmest I've ever met. Far from being treated as an outsider because I was foreign and didn't speak the local language, I was often welcomed into people's homes and shared the intimate aspects of life here from weddings to funerals. If I'm being honest, it was easier in the beginning to make Kenyan friends than it was to make American friends! I know I've made some lifelong friends here.
  2. The Nature: I now know why Kenya's tourism slogan is #MagicalKenya. From the savannah sunsets to the wildlife to the white sand beaches to the forest hiking trails, the nature in this country is as stunning as it is diverse. There's truly something here for every taste and budget - whether you're a rugged backpacker looking for a place to pitch your tent and dig your latrine to a first-class experience seeker planning your luxury safari.
  3. The Weather: I did not miss real winter a single day while living in Nairobi. For readers back home, a Nairobi winter might drop as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and it doesn't snow. Thanks to the altitude, Nairobi is also spared from the notoriously sweltering heat of much of the rest of Africa. The moderate temperatures were a delight.
  4. The Arts: Kenya is such a cultural powerhouse for the region, and it was such a treat to get a small taste of that over the past two years. My favorite Kenyan music artist is Nyashinski, I purchased some classic street art from the Maasai Market, I collected a number of beautiful traditional fabrics and clothes, and I was lucky enough to participate in a number of cultural events for work. Nobody can deny the richness of Kenyan culture after experiencing it firsthand.
  5. The Work: Doing Public Diplomacy in Kenya for my first tour has been truly special. I've met thousands of Kenyans and expats from all walks of life, grown so much personally and professionally, and had a lot of fun along the way. I can't imagine a better first tour, and so far the Foreign Service is everything I hoped it would be: challenging, rewarding, and always exciting. I have such deep respect for my colleagues - Kenyan and American - and I hope I have the opportunity to work with them again.

We haven't even gotten on the plane yet and I already can't wait to come back. I don't know how or when, but I'm determined that this won't be my last time in Kenya. Tutaonana tena, marafiki wangu!

3 comments:

  1. That's why I always say that no matter what, I don't think there's another country I can choose to spend my life if not at home "sweet Kenya" regardless of its challenges. It is such a blessed country that God loves so much blessed with welcoming and lovely people "Kenyans". We love visitors and that's why they're always welcome from deep inside our hearts. God bless Kenya.
    We'll surely miss you guys till wakati mwingine (next time).

    Bro. Morendi, Mountain View Ward.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your wonderful country with us for two years. I will really miss Mountain View Ward, but I hope I can come back someday!

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