Mtwapa is full of surprises. Yesterday I was minding my own business when I spotted three Maasai warriors resplendent in red and purple lesos and lots of beads, but mercifully devoid of the six foot spears. These chaps are not your fierce killing machines but pastoral farmers who only need blunt sticks to keep their herds in order. Still a head-turner in the market place though. You never know what the chap coming towards you might be carrying. A two foot machete? I’ve seen four or five being walked around. But so many people use them for so many things that it’s really just like seeing someone back home with a lunch box. I’ve also stepped over eight discarded razor blades so far, worrying since hardly any kids have shoes.
Goats are another surprising daily sight here: Herds of up to twenty, all shapes, sizes and colours, freely roam the streets scavenging among the litter. Chickens with clutches of tiny chicks also scratch around unharmed.
I had always believed that robbers in the U.K. are resourceful, even ingenious; It is comforting to know that we can still lead the world in some things. However there were new dangers at our last hotel: We had to close the patio door when we went out just in case we were being cased by monkeys. As we sat in the dining room red squirrels scurried across the floor in search of scraps. We all know how cute bush babies are, but when one jumps onto an empty chair, reaches onto our table, grabs a bread roll and then hops it he shows nerve!
Continuing the theme of hard work, there are little 125cc motor bikes called boda-bodas buzzing round everywhere. I saw one carrying four passengers: This time the lady perched on the parcel shelf was a local cook who is reassuringly chef-shaped. Another had two proper pub-sized metal beer barrels strapped on. One carried a double bed, although it was in MFI-style pieces. Another carried a double mattress folded in half, perhaps trying to catch the earlier frame. Today I saw five passengers on one, although the one wedged in the middle was no more than a toddler. The most heroic load so far was a bookcase with a wooden bed (single but intact) tied on top.
Another transport option which defeats the cissy four-wheel standard is a motor bike with two back wheels and covered over – a tuk-tuk or Piaggio. These can eclipse the efforts of the boda-boda with their water-carrying capacity (pictured) or carry three passengers behind the driver.
Following on from Mme Susan in my last entry I have to tell you that if your faith in human nature is flagging visit Mr Bosco, director of Royal Academy, school for ages 2 – 12. Not only does he look just like Louis Armstrong (apologies to younger readers – check him out on You Tube) but he runs his Wonderful World on a shoestring. When food parcels were distributed he asked to keep the empty paper sacks to cover the school books so they would last longer. Why does he do this? I can’t tell you, you would have to ask him or one of the many like him out here. Blessings and thanks to Milele and to you for all your help.
Next time – Mr Softee comes to Mtwapa
Road works in the main street Kenya-style.