I spent a great deal of time in my third year of university planning a trip to Italy. My classmates and I had managed, against all odds, to convince the university to take us to Voi, a town approximately 310km from Nairobi. The success of the Voi trip, albeit academic, triggered in us a sense of tourism. We went forth with new knowledge that it was possible to get funding for an Italy trip. Eleven of my classmates and I began to meet weekly to strategise. A club by the name ‘Rizaa’ was born. We would embark on a study that would unearth an architecture that was in tandem with the Kenyan identity (I studied architecture). Our case studies would be Nairobi (although we sort to study traditional Kenyan architecture as well) and three Italian towns.
I cannot begin to explain the amount of energy that went into ‘Rizaa’, at least for me. We knocked on government doors, we approached some of our lecturers for ideas, but most importantly, we fantasized. It was a dream embedded in our minds.
Unfortunately, Italy did not happen. The flame dwindled and finally died .
A few weeks later, while expressing our disappointment to one of our lecturers, Interior designer Kahare Miano (Oh, how I loved to bask in the wisdom of this man), he encouraged a friend and I to tour Africa. He gave us examples of countries within the continent that offered him so much and shaped his thoughts. And then it dawned on us; how many Africans have dream destinations within Africa? Ask around. Venice. Paris. Berlin. China. New York. There are many reasons for this; our socialization, what we feed our minds by way of watching western movies and so on. That’s a blog post on it’s on.
I am just learning to look past the West’s impression (ignorance?) of Africa. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one of my favourite authors, recently spoke of an emerging indifference within her, to how the West views the motherland. She has chosen to focus on how we see ourselves; but how do we see ourselves? Do we see our continent as worth irreplaceable holidays? Can it open our minds up to new perspectives? Are there lessons to be found in crossing borders within the continent? What do you know about Tanzania? Senegal? Morocco? And who/what shaped your view?
I am not the ultimate tourist. I have only 6 countries under my belt (7 if Amsterdam stop-overs count), a dwarf among other travel bloggers I’ve come across. Nevertheless, I think that I have valuable information to share, especially because I get many questions on my trips.
This blog is a space of positive vibration. No complaints about the quality of governance, the amount of traffic or the state of security. This blog seeks to find the peace that Africa strives to give us, the beauty we so often overlook. Welcome to A KENYAN NOMAD.