After a week of Kenya’s “Speedy visa system”, I found myself still having to wait for another 2 extra weeks. So meanwhile, I had to find my own accommodation to live in Nairobi and thankfully Airbnb exists. I found a very cosy looking home, at a relatively safer area for a very affordable price. I found Tomo.

tomo & i

She proclaims she can do anything, showing me the bag she just stitched for her drum within the span of 3 hours. After knowing her for 2 weeks, I am starting to believe it too. Tomo is a Japanese lady who moved to Kenya 6 years ago (after volunteering in other African countries like Uganda for a few years too). Tomo’s house is super tribal-vibey, full of colours. Also she plays African and Indian drums pretty well. She is truly an unconventional Japanese lady, probably why she has no plans of returning to Japan any time soon. Tomo had a high ranking job, doing advertising or managing concerts. I am not really sure about the exact details because we don’t understand each other’s accent very well, and she only started learning English 6 years ago but she is pretty impressive. Trust me when I say this post is doing her no justice in how amazing she is.

Tomo is definitely a lady with one of the biggest hearts I’ve seen and a reason that helps me keeps going through this tough journey here. She has shown me how much it’s worth to leave comfort to experience life as it is. She came to Kenya, alone, to just volunteer with orphanages when she realized she was just living life paycheck to paycheck back in Japan. Being alone in Kenya is crazy scary, that I can assure you from firsthand experience. I can only imagine it being so much more intimidating for her since she came here all by herself, looking Japanese & not knowing English. I admire that courage and wish to have the risk-taking spirit in me from this day forward too. She did anything she could, like teach PE, Arts and Music when she saw that they were missing out on all these subjects in the orphanage. So she took on the role of 3 teachers and was clearly very happy to do so.

My housemate, Grant, who has lived with her for 1 month, told me that she has an ability to just be charming and get her way with anything. His evidence was when she was (indirectly) asked for a bribe in the Tanzania/Kenya border and she replied “Ohhh, Is it okay if I take some time to think about it?” and they said alright. Then she started taking out her CAMPING EQUIPMENT AND PITCHING A TENT RIGHT OUTSIDE THE BORDER OFFICE. SHE STUNNED ALL THE OFFICERS, PROPS TO HER.

Tomo really can do anything. Also, she cooked very hearty Japanese meals that I’ll truly miss now that I am heading back to Mombasa to resume my internship. I’m thankful I met her.

food at tomo's

P.S. I really miss your arrowroot miso soup 😦


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