Things I never knew I never knew

Growing up my favorite Disney movie had to be Pocahontas. I loved daydreaming about mysterious lands far away where people lived & dressed differently and spoke different languages. I loved Pocahontas’ wild, independent spirit & how she chose to follow her heart. My favourite song in the movie was ‘Colours of the wind’ & even as a kid, the words of one of the verses in particular challenged me:

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew
Image from:

And it turns out that during this time in Kenya I’ve learnt new things that I never knew I never knew. Coming to Kenya is always a refreshing reminder of how simple life can be. It’s been 2.5 years since I last came & I realise how used I’ve become to Western luxuries such as water in every tap & toilet or even just having a toilet. There’s the obvious things which I take for granted every day & have become so used to even though I know others lack them like electricity, internet & a healthy, varied diet. But I’ve also noticed this time things which I consider essentials but are in fact also luxuries. Here are a couple that have really challenged me during my time here

Personal space

Although it can be a struggle to get personal space as a mum, I can if I feel I need to. Most oooooo km Pol Kenyans live in small houses, often in one room and even their bed can not be claimed as their own space. Yet, I don’t see them getting stressed about needing space, they embrace life in community. People share their space, their belongings and their food; everything is for everyone. In usual circumstances, the matatu’s (public transport) & even motor bikes are jam packed beyond what my Western mind thought possible! Its not unusual for relatives & friends to all live together in a small space. When we visited Lox’s family for Christmas we were kindly given a bed a little larger that a single for the whole family which from the Kenyan perspective was plenty of room. I had a few sleepless nights with my kids (who are not used to co-sleeping) & came away with a greater appreciation of the luxury that space really is. I feel like I have lots to learn in this area & I’m in the right place to learn about it.

Eating when hungry

When I’m hungry I usually reach for a snack or prepare something to eat quickly. I don’t like feeling hungy & also (wrongly) justify being short tempered if someone gets between me & my food when I’m ready for it as if its my right to eat straight away at the moment I feel hungry. But that’s different here. Life moves at a slower pace & even getting a cup of tea can take a while if you have to start by lighting a fire. But people don’t complain, they carry on with life until food is ready. Even kids have patience & learn from a young age that they’ll eat when food is ready, whenever that will be, having a toddler tantrum because of hunger is not so common to see. It’s been a wake up call to me not to let hunger dictate to me & to appreciate how easily available food is in Wales.

So, as the end of our time in Kenya draws to a close, I’m reminded once again that there’s a lot that I don’t know I don’t know & I look forward to learning all about them!