Sitting in Berlin, I look outside my window and the gloomy weather with the dry trees stare back. I cannot help but remember and long for the beautiful green trees and the lush grass I had for a constant view last week. I was quite fortunate to be given a wonderful opportunity professionally and personally to join the team of 5 brilliant people in their respective fields to go to Kenya for an exchange program. I wrote my master thesis on ways of developing clean water for Kenya and was invited to elaborate my research and the findings for the same.
Upon reaching Kenya, I was mesmerised by the beauty of the country and the genuine people everywhere who would always greet you with a smile and ask you how you are doing. Coming from India and currently Germany, this is pretty much an alien habit to witness because no-one has the time. Kenyans do! It was so refreshing to meet so many smiling people everywhere.
On Monday, the 11th we visited our main host university “Masinde Muliro University of science and technology (MMUST)” and were given a very warm welcome following a big photoshoot that ended with a mandatory round of tea and snacks. I had my 2 big presentations in the science and technology department and I think they were well appreciated (or so I think). A hearty meal and good conversation with lovely company brought the day to an end.
Next day early we started our never ending journey to Eldoret and MOI University to extend the interests and benefits of working together with German universities for the mutual benefits of both countries. Although the journey had us very tired, the rich successful conversation with the Kenyan counterparts brought us utmost satisfaction and made the visit quite worthwhile.
On Wednesday, we visited a small village some half an hour away from our hotel called Elwasambi and met with the farmers and the localities who welcomed us with big hearts and even bigger smiles. Growing up in India, I used to visit my grandfather’s farms and eat sugarcane and other fruits, sit in the sun and talk till the time runs out with all the friends, neighbours, cousins etc. Elwasambi, Asante sana for taking me back to my childhood. I will cherish and hold it dear till we meet again. The evening brought in good food at a localite’s place where I made a new friend and gained 3 kgs for life. The taxi bike ride back to our hotel was so much fun and thrilling that I had a big smile on my face the entire time.
Thursday was quite relaxed with a visit to the local potters for evaluating the basics of the water filters foundation. My name means sleeping in India and so I decided to live up to my name for the rest of the day. Evening brought in good company, food and summer cocktails in the hotel lobby. And if my professor is reading this, this is the last of English I will ever speak! (Context: I have to improve my German so have to give up English)
Friday we met with some of the beautiful faculty from MMUST and summarised our week and recapped the future prospectives of the project. We then proceeded to visit the Kakamega rain forest and what a sight it had to offer! Everywhere you look was green and life affirming. Special thanks to our driver and the park guide for the interesting facts and stories. The day ended with my one of the best meals of my life at another localite’s home. Wonderful conversation with the most beautiful people under the stars made this to be the perfect last night in Kenya. To these beautiful people, I say the most humble thank you for sharing their home and love with us.
The last morning brought a surprise visit from a friend and consequently a very hard goodbye. We then started our way to Kisumu but made some interesting stops on our way at the equator line and the Lake Victoria where we had our last meal in Kenya. It was then time for me to take my goodbye from the beautiful country and wonderful people I had shared my life with for the past one week. To the professors, I thank you for giving me this opportunity and look forward to hearing from you. To my two female companions, you will be highly missed and I hope we meet again soon. To each and everyone of my hosts in Kenya, my heart is full with all the love and I have nothing but the best to wish you. To the mere readers of this blog, I apologise for the very long write up, the love will just not stop flowing.
And now, I will stare at my luggage and wish hard that it unpacks somehow. Wish me luck.
Till we meet again!
All my love,