Month: June 2012

On Mombasa’s Weddings

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So if you are in Mombasa, chances are you are attending a wedding this weekend. Some people are attending two at the same night, jumping from one to another. Needless to say I am currently at one part of a five-part wedding series. Of course, the only reason I’m actually here is because I had to go (I.e. Family wedding) but it really got me thinking; why do people have many parts in their weddings so I figured maybe it’s just to make sure people actually know who the people who got married are. Sometimes when I go to weddings (having been forced of course) I don’t even know who’s getting married. Chances are I can’t even be bothered and the main reason I go is due to “logistics” (i.e. My mother needs a ride and I’m the only driver around), and if I ask sometimes my mother spares me the headache by stating, “You don’t know them.” So maybe having long-running weddings will make you figure out by the series finale who is actually getting married.

The main thing you need to remember when going to weddings is to keep your shoes close by. Of course it is needless to say that weddings here are held in places where people sit on the floor (no shoes because of janvi) so they remove their shoes to sit. Why keep shoes close by? Because they can easily be stolen. During my brother’s wedding, the groom himself lost his shoes.

Just my thoughts as I am blogging this straight from the wedding hall (which operates as a school in the morning).

P.s. Just in case you are wondering, I actually know who’s getting married this time (HINT: family wedding)


Mombasa’s First Mall

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So today I went to City Mall (Mombasa’s first…um…only…proper mall). Until they built this mall, all that Mombasa had were a bunch of stores connected to the name “Plaza” or “Center”.

For instance, “Mombasa City Center” consists of a group of stalls where vendors sell the most random things you can think of. The building where vendors used to sell before burnt down a few years back and the burnt building still stands as you can see from the second image.



There was nothing fancy about the mall especially if you are used to Emirates Mall and Dubai Mall. It’s quite simply built and you might notice that you can actually see the limits of the building from the inside meaning that it doesn’t keep on extending on and on like Dubai malls.
I couldn’t snap a picture so this image is courtesy of Google Images.


So of course I tried the coffee at Dorman’s (Vanilla Mocha) and this is what was written on the glass (back to snapping my own pictures).


Please focus on the fourth line, “Shirt and Shoes required.”

The mall was as empty as UAE malls are full but at least there is progress to be seen in Mombasa.

The only thing missing was a Frozen Yogurt place. [Update: There is now a Frozen Yogurt place called Planet Yogurt  in Nyali Center, Links Road, Mombasa].

(Swahili) Food For Thought

You know how they say, “Out of the fire and into a frying pan.”

So today while being driven around on the wild streets of Mombasa, I thought of a similar saying (Kenya-style), “It’s like avoiding a Mkokoteni only to hit a matatu.”

Sounds and More Sounds of Kenya

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So today I figured instead of talking about the “Sights and Sounds” of Kenya, I’d just focus on the Sounds only.
You could wake up to the sounds of birds twittering outside the window, crows squawking or the loud sound of your neighbor’s radio (or their screaming voice as they wake their children up). If you live in a house that’s close to the road, the most prominent sound is the famous tuktuk, whose sound goes something like tuktuktuktuk (are you surprised?).
During the day you have people going around selling vegetables, fruits or snacks. So you might here someone calling out loudly, “Sambusa! Sambusa! Sambusa!”
Then there are the sounds of revving trucks, shouting people and if you live close to the hospital, the sounds of sirens become a daily occurrence.
Some apartment buildings have an area where children can play so when it reaches 4 pm, you might start hearing screaming children as they play football. Other children (who happen to be grounded) could also be heard given instructions from their position at the window. Sometimes they play coach and other times they play referee. Basically, they do anything to increase the noise.
And later on at night, you could fall asleep to the sound of rain pattering against the window, wrapping up the day awesomely.


On Introverts Part 2

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You know how they sometimes have awareness campaign for autism, AIDs or breast cancer. I think there needs to be an awareness campaign for introverts. I’ve written about Susan Cain’s book (quiet) in a previous post, and it hit me as ironic that people who need to read the book are actually extroverts; extrovert parents who should stop treating their children as abnormal, forcing them to go to social events and (eventually) psychiatrists “to get out of their shells”; extrovert colleagues who should stop thinking that just because someone is quiet doesn’t make them stupid with nothing to contribute. Extrovert spouses who may think the introverts have so much to hide.

The thing is, just because extroverts talk a lot doesn’t mean they talk a lot of sense. It’s well known from biology that the circulatory blood system is required for the body to remain alive.

The thing with most Mombasa people is that the blood that keeps the society alive is called maneno-ism. (Note that I said “alive” and that does not necessarily mean “healthy”). So just like harmful CO2 is replaced by healthy O2 with the help of the blood, talk tends to be taken from one place to another.The only problem is that while the circulatory system makes sure that the body is well and healthy, maneno-ism system poisons society. And the sad thing is, people thrive on that, from deciding where they go to have their morning tea, to where they go for aerobics class to where they decide to work (or not). Kids are taught to mind everybody’s business and spread it if they can because after all people’s reputations need to be known to the public if they are going to get married at some point.

A change in this could be done through blood transfusion; changing the talk that’s going around but that would be difficult especially because it is only natural that the more scandalous talk is the more it gets around. So detox would be difficult. Maybe that’s why introverts keep to themselves a lot. Yet the society don’t see it that way. Susan Cain wrote, “Introversion is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology.”

Interesting enough she also noted that Introverts are more likely to talk about their lives online. Maybe it’s the anonymity. Maybe it’s one way thet involves expressing themselves without having to come face-to-face with people.

So maybe introverts need to wear a t-shirt that says

Image taken from