Thursday, September 6, 2012

Do you walk like an European?

Mombasa Beach. Yep, the sand is really that white
I'm in Mombasa at the moment staying in a not-so-bad hotel at Nyali Beach. I checked the local outdoor entertainment (like I always do when I arrive at a new destination) hoping to find something interesting to do. I discovered a kite surfing school at Mombasa Beach and decided to go check it out as I really wanted to kite surf here. I did not bring any equipment along and was hoping that I could hire some.

After quite a long walk with Lorcan, a colleague of mine from Irish descent, we found the kite surfing school three hotels further from where we were expecting to find it. I struggled to keep up with my Irish friend who obviously was more determined to find the kite surfing school than to appreciate the white beach which he has seen many times before. While we were negotiating prices and sharing kite surfing stories, the tide steadily moved in preventing us access to the other side of a rocky outcrop which we passed on our way to Mombasa Beach. As we couldn't walk back along the beach, we asked if there was an alternative route to get back to where our driver had dropped us a few minutes ago. Kepher (I told him that word is close to a swear word in South Africa), one of the kite surfing instructors volunteered to walk us back. It was quite obvious from the start that Kepher could not keep up with the pace set by Lorcan, we were walking way too fast for him. Kepher who was supposed to be "showing us the way" was behind us most of the time. At a point Kepher ran to the front and said:" You guys walk just like Europeans". I couldn't help but burst out laughing. If I had to comment on Kepher's slow pace, I probably would have blamed him for walking on "African time"

Kepher's comment again made me realize why Africa is so relaxed and why the rest of the world suffers from heart burn and stress. We were racing like we were running out of precious time, but there was absolutely no reason for us to be in any hurry. What made it even more interesting was the fact that Africans and Europeans are so different in many ways, and even though they sometimes find it hard to get along we can all learn from each other. They say in Rome you do like the Romans, shouldn't that count for Africa as well? Even if you don't want to walk slow in Africa, isn't it time we learn from Africans and stop walking like Europeans? Maybe we can do it for our own sake, to slow down our heart rates and to enjoy what we have around us. Thanks to Kepher for teaching us our "lesson of the day".....  

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