Safari Salama

Leaving and saying goodbye are definitely not among my hobbies. I like to keep those moments as short as possible and to disappear without much fuzz, but in Tanzania, I couldn’t get away with that :). Local friends had organised a surprise goodbye diner which included pretty awesome food, some crazy speeches, and my promise to return as soon as possible. I am keen on keeping my promises, so you definitely have to keep an eye on this blog ;-).

I left with my heart feeling heavy and light at the same time. I had the time of my life in Tanzania, where I met love and light. In a short period of time, my life had fundamentally changed, by the experiences, by the new people I met, by the connection between my dreams and this new reality, by rediscovering myself and by the need to leave some of the past behind.

The trip to Kilimanjaro airport was smooth, apart from some disturbance by small obstructions such as the road police and other road obstacles… We made a short stop at the Arusha Coffee Lodge to eat a sandwich accompanied by the best freshly brewed coffee I had in my entire stay in Tanzania. The Coffee Lodge is a splendid place with nice social work projects for disabled people, but the prices were a real turn off. They quite focus on the ‘higher segment’ tourist.

After a pretty comfortable flight to Nairobi with Precision Air, I discovered that Kenyan airport services are impressively efficient. Since I had applied for a digital tourist visa, I could pass the border control in no time and found myself outside the airport, where I stood waiting for what seemed to be eternity to be picked up. A taxi driver noticed my long wait and got worried about this lonely blond girl, standing in the dark and being regularly disturbed by all sorts of people trying to make money. He wanted to offer me his cell phone to make the necessary calls. I have probably remembered this small act of kindness because of all the unkindness I had to endure in my one week stay in Nairobi.

The highlight of that stay was definitely the visit to an ostrich farm a bit outside of town. It was pretty interesting to see ostriches in all stages of the species’ life cycle and to taste their delicious meat. It was literally a refreshing experience, as we finally got to breathe some fresh air instead of the heavily polluted city air. Furthermore, our host Nicholas turned out to have a straightforward, direct and down to earth way of reasoning, which made for some refreshing conversations, something I had needed badly since arriving in Nairobi.

On a saturday, we went to Two Rivers Mall, which is probably the biggest mall in town and even in East-Africa. It offered absolutely nothing of the vibe of Kenya and the vibe of Africa, and felt just like any mainstream shopping mall in the West. Giving the construction and design of the mall a good look, it wasn’t hard to notice that it was of poor quality and entirely lacking any architectural creativity. In short, it is a place without a heart or a soul, and nothing more than a tasteless try to combine shopping with a kind of amusement parc. Before entering, you are subjected to the same security procedure you have to go through at nearly all buildings in Nairobi, with your car being turned inside out and dogs sniffing all over it. Kenya… where are you going?

On a final note, some situations in life are so crazy and so unreal that they seem to come right out of a movie script. For some people, love is a wicked game. I had to find that out the hard way by uncovering the truth and calling it a game over, which left me stuck in the hell of Nairobi on my own. I will remember the small acts of kindness that helped me through. Two cab drivers who needed only half a word to understand my situation, for their encouraging talk and for getting me out. The female performer I accidentally met in the ladies restroom at the hotel’s Valentine day’s party night, for offering me a much needed hug and for brightening up my godforsaken lonely night with words of kindness. My heart goes out to all the people back home and in Tanzania, for carrying me home safe and sound on the wings of your love. Asante sana. Nakupenda.

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