Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wazungu Season

There has been a flood of white people that have arrived in Mombasa. It's wazungu (white people) season. College students are travelling and volunteering during their summer holidays. Entire families are taking their yearly 2 weeks paid vacation and hitting up Mombasa's resorts. Expats are returning to their homes for a few months and  hanging out with their Kenyan wives (our neighbour has been gone for a few weeks now leaving her child at home with a friend. We suspect she is in some hotel with her white husband).

I have been able to meet some cool people as they discover Mombasa. I like hearing what they are learning, experiencing, seeing, processing, etc. 

However, I have noticed that I am being treated differently by the locals. 

All of sudden, I am getting a lot more attention from people (especially men) asking for pretty much anything. I have to fight harder not to pay higher rates in the matatus, often making sure that I have the exact amount ready so they can't 'forget' to give me my change. I am using my swahili more to show them that I am not a tourist and indeed know my way around this town. The kids at the primary school where the boys practice have started following me around and chatting away with me thinking that I am one of the 14 volunteers from Ireland that have come to teach for the summer. 

It's a little exhausting. 

But such is life. I will just have to get over it for the time being. 

In other news, Mombasa has turned cold! Alright, it has become cool. During the days, you are still likely to sweat but at nights, a harsh breeze blows in bringing cool air and thick clouds. I can actually feel a cold (sore throat, sinus headache) coming on as I sit in a long sleeve shirt and long pants on my couch. 

It's delightfully refreshing. 

And this past weekend, we got the pleasure of seeing Juliani come and perform at a rally that Kelvin was the MC for. Juliani is probably the biggest musician in Kenya. His witty rap lyrics are all Christ focused. His stage presence is overwhelming. His signature dreads whip back and forth as he flings his head around. He is one of a kind, that's for sure. 

I think 40% of Kenyan male youth think they were born to rap like Juliani. And I would say that about 1.5% of that 40% are actually somewhat talented. That makes for a lot of terrible musicians. I have had so many young men show me their stuff. I just nod and smile while trying to decide if I should be honest with them and tell them it's terrible or if I should just let them pursue their dreams and allow God to show them that music isn't their gift. 

The first time I saw Juliani, I was disgusted. At that time, his biggest song was, "I want a piece of your ear like Mike Tyson." I looked at my friend and asked, "Is this boy really a Christian?" She quickly assured me that I needed to understand the rest of the lyrics (that were all swahili slang) in order to understand the gist of the song. After listening to his music and seeing him perform half a dozen times, I have realized that he truly is a follower of Christ. And a humble one to take time out of his day and put on a (free) concert for a crowd of school students. 

The students went wild.


  1. Hey Nikole-

    I love your blog. I recently found it on Google somehow and I started reading from the very beginning and have finished to the end (current day). I promise I am not a stalker, just very interested. I am moving to Ethiopia in October to work with orphans. I have really enjoyed reading about your adventures. My blog is if you wanna check it out.


  2. Hey Jonnet! So cool! Thanks for reading (wow all the way from the beginning? Glad I could keep you interested). Let me check out your work and we'll keep in touch. I Have a good friend who is in Addis who works with street boys. Amazing work she is doing.