0600 23rd February :
It’s hard to believe my time is almost up. It certainly hasn’t been the trip I envisioned. I had pictured Rangi ready for sea, relatively comfortable, cruisy sailing, wine on deck with the auto helm engaged…. a basically peaceful exploration of the East Coast of Africa!!
The reality had been way more intense, lol.
I may not be heading home quite the rested and relaxed sailor but you know what? The only thing I’d change is losing Ali. If only we could have got him home too. Everything else is manageable and has ended up with me meeting and living with amazing people. I have friends for life, a second family, who will always take me in if I return.
I am going to miss this place and these people more than I would have ever imagined when I headed off blithely just before New Years.
I’m going to especially miss all the huge genuine smiles that really reach people’s eyes and come from the heart. It’s a truly happy culture. If I could bottle the attitude to life here and take it home, I’d be a millionaire!! This photo of Lali shows it clearly.
I am at Bridget’s place in Shella till I go. I have both Mary and Faisa asking me to stay another night with them but there’s only two nights left and I’ve moved around so much I’d like to play tourist for just a wee bit.
I still have a sore throat off and on, so am not 100% back to top energy levels. I do have to be back at work on Tuesday.
Bridget is a Kiwi too, working here, and her place is just behind a lovely beach and restaurant. So I can swim if I want, buy food and drinks and use the restaurant WiFi.
Mary introduced me to a rather unique man here who has a very interesting (to me) belief system, rather more how I view the world on a spiritual level. So we got on very well, with great discussion and I’m going to visit with him again before I go. It was nice to talk without having religion stuffed down my craw!!
There’s a million donkeys in Lamu, even a dedicated donkey hospital. In general, I think thanks to the education of the hospital vet, they are well cared for. Ditto cats, though they are often a bit thin. People like them though so they’re not precisely unkind to them, just left to fend for themselves mostly. A few are ‘restaurant cats’, well fed and healthy. Not many dogs, no horses, some sheep and goats, and a few cattle. The sheep are those Arabic ones with the fat pad on the tail. They’re adorable, I think anyway, lol!!
The donkeys get taken for a weekly swim in the sea, to keep their skin healthy. They hate it and it is the most hilarious thing to watch them being dragged in. Their owners basically walk them in by lifting up their front legs and they have to follow or fall over!!
There’s almost no vehicles on Lamu. You either walk or go by boat. Yesterday Bea and I decided to walk from Lamu town back to Shella. It was really hot and we were carrying my bags but it’s only about a 40 minute walk so we were happy. But one boat driver after another begged us to let him take us round, saying it was too hot for us to be out in the sun. In the end one guy was so distressed he said he’d take us for free, and we gave in!! It is rather nice being looked after so well!! I’m going to be in shock when I get home – haven’t cooked in 2 months. Love it!!
The food has been wonderful. I certainly haven’t lost weight, though am in better shape, fitter. Samira seriously tried to fatten me up after our long swim!! Men don’t like skinny women here though and for the first time in my life I’ve felt totally comfortable about myself. Most men at home are very quick to make negative comments about ones size, though why they think that’s OK when they’re not perfect themselves escapes me. To be fair, Igor doesn’t, but it’s a first for me!!
Another thing I really like here is the openness of houses. Because the climate is so nice you don’t need glass windows, insulation or hot water!! Homes are very airy and I love going to sleep able to hear the wind and sea. I think I might have to move to live near the water.
I haven’t missed TV!! Don’t think I’ll even bother with it when I get home!! I haven’t even missed wine and coffee which has been absent from most places I’ve been here. The coffee is really good, though, when you do get it!
I was kept awake a fair bit by a neighbour who Bridget tells me has a respiratory problem of some kind and struggles to breathe. She must be using all her accessory muscles and each breath is accompanied by a loud groan. It’s heart rending. It made me think about Ahmed all night. I’m going to see the local GP this morning and see if I can get his Mum some help.
0945: Bridget and I have been for a swim. It was great and I felt good in the water again. Yes, guys, the sea is my friend again!!
I was surprised to run into Chaps in the Peponi restaurant on our way back, as he’d said he was going fishing this morning early.
But he had sad news. Ahmed died over night. While I feel so sad for his family, in mourning again so soon after Ali’s passing, I am happy both Ahmed and his Mum haven’t had to go through the terrible last stages that can go with this condition. Chaps said Ahmed asked to see his father last night and told them he was ready to go, then died not long after. The human spirit is an amazing thing. What a brave young man. I will go over to see the family soon.