My journey to Muhoroni...

Friday, January 8, 2010

The first homeless Christmas

It was different. Nothing around me reminded me that the Christmas was coming close. No Christmas decorations in the slums, no Christmas carols, no Christmas markets.  And no snow. Every day people criticise the consumerism of the Christmas time, the decorated Tesco, tiring carols in the middle of October. Suddenly I found myself sitting in my room desiring a bit of the decorated Tesco, Christmas balls, the smell of ginger bread. I don´t know if it is good or bad but my culture is part of me – together with all of the traditions and customs. And so I missed our culture. I didn´t miss the pre-Christmas stress and long queues in front of the shops. That is what I enjoyed a lot about the Christmas in Kenya.
They do not celebrate Christmas Eve in Kenya. Finally I spent it with a plate of French fries and a bottle of Coca-Cola. It cost me 50 cents. I know it sounds disgusting but it made me happy because it was a pleasant change. I sang some carols in the room just for myself, I listened to a part of Christmas sermon from 2008 and opened my 4 Christmas presents. I had a strange feeling opening my gifts alone during Christmas when we are supposed to share gifts with other people...
On the next day all of the children got new clothes so I dressed up in my last clean clothes and pretended that it was new. They have a nice tradition to wear new clothes 25th December. It is like a new life. New beginning. New clothes. I don´t know if this was the symbolics but I decided to take it that way.
We ate delicious food – including goat meat chewing gum (I had to spit the meat out secretly behind the toilets because I couldn´t swallow it) but the taste was persistent... didn´t want to disappear. Two girls were celebrating their birthdays during Christmas so their were watered properly as it is usual.
On 26th December I prepared the promised popcorn. Four kilos of corn was not enough for 140 children. If course I burnt myself using the big pot but fortunately, only once. That was my farewell party with Children´s Garden and Nairobi too because on Sunday I set off on my journey back to Muhoroni. The journey was incredibly long. Two years ago they built an asphalt road from Nairobi to Kisumu. Unfortunately, only one, and a very narrow one. One accident – and the road is useless. And so we were stuck in a . The time was passing by and I came to Kisumu some time before 6pm. I found a matatu (public transportation vehicle, 14-seat Nissan microbus) to Muhoroni. I was waiting for almost half an hour till it got full. „Full“ doesn´t mean that all of the seats were occupied but that there was no place to move. I couldn´t turn myself and it was clear that there was more than 14 people in this matatu. It made strange sounds and it was interesting especially when we were starting. From time to time they poured in some strange liquid. Don´t ask me why. It was getting dark and I realized I would not get home in the light. We took a route I didn´t know. At last the matatu spit me out at the crossroads leading to the hospital at half past seven. So I stepped into the dark. I jumped over a well-known puddle in front of the hospital and thanked God that nothing had happened to me. That was my first (and hopefully the last) „scary walk“ in Africa. 

1 comment:

  1. Maybe if you would have watched alot of tv you would have seen more carols and cheesy Jesus is born plays by shouting 3rd graders. Also KBC tv also always runs Christmas cartoons. Those may not be new Clothes but super sunday bests. On Xmass day in Kenya everyone,that is everyone goes to church, even the village drunk and all known prostitutes. Everyone except us Seventh Day Adventists who only go to church on Christmas day if it falls on a Saturday(which always happens once a decade like in 2010). That road is like that due to Neglect. My brother in Nairobi told me roads leading to Central Province are super flat.