After feeding and playing with babies in a nearby orphanage, it was time for the babies to go to sleep and for me to break for lunch. yay.
I aimlessly walked down the street towards a Swahili restaurant hoping for cheap food. BUT IT WAS CLOSED BECAUSE SUNDAY! So I continued walking straight ahead, hoping for something to pop up and I came to the Nigerian Embassy. Peeping into the guard post, I asked for directions to a nearby eatery and they suggested I go to some Italian named restaurant, which I immediately knew would cost way more than I want to spend. As I unwillingly looked to the direction of the restaurant, the guard came out and said “If it’s too expensive, I can bring you to a place that sells local food nearby” and i jumped in joy.
This is James, the Nigerian embassy security guard who accompanied me to lunch at a street side stall. He is orginially from Kisumu and was working as a farmer till 1.5 years ago. He then moved to Kibera, Africa’s largest urban slum, so that it would be closer to the city for him to work in the embassy. While walking towards the chapati place, the first few things he talked about was bringing me to his home to let me see Kibera. He wanted to show me the strong people who found joy and never gave up on life no matter how hard it was. He found that admirable and wanted to share that with the Indian looking foreigner, Me. But because he is a stranger and I just visited Kibera 2 days ago, I kindly declined to go alone for the time being. (HA, SMART TRAVELER!)
We talked about tribes, family, travelling and dreams. Fundamentally, both of us shared the same goal of a happy united world that is not torn apart by differences. You see, in Kenya there are 42 different tribes and contrary to popular beliefs, people can tell who are from their tribes and who are not, despite people moving all over the country (largely due to names and place of birth). People here take huge pride in tribes and it affects who works with who and whatnot. He told me about the time he went to Tanzania and saw that people are not divided by tribes and that they love all people no matter what. He wished the same for Kenya.
NOTE : I AM NOT SAYING KENYA IS VERY DIVIDED BY TRIBES, BUT I AM ALSO NOT SAYING THAT IT’S NOT.
Another thing I found interesting was when I asked him, how old he was he stammered “35.. 37”. After a few long moments of silence, he looked at me and asked “How old am I, if I was born in 78”? He is 39.
I learnt a lot about Kenya through the eyes of a 39 year old Kenyan and I made a friend for 2USD by offering to buy lunch. lunch was great.