Cultural Experience | Kenya

It costs you nothing. Rediscover your childhood.

Unleash your inner child

By Iloti Mutoka, Moi University, Nairobi, Kenya

As a child growing up in the suburbs of Nairobi, we scrounged around for fruits and berries when they were in season, getting sore bottoms from the owners of the trees from which we plucked almost ripe mangoes and guavas, getting guffawed at by the less adventurous of us. Of course, the laughs soon turn to pleas for a split of the loot, promises of fealty and much hasty swearing that what we thought was laughter were actually cries of commiseration, shows of solidarity.

We all have our happy memories of the exploits of our earliest youth, the thrashings and tear stained faces contorted in anguish as we rubbed bottoms radiating hot pain airbrushed away as we smile nostalgically at our less than vivid recollection. I have never lost that sense of adventure, but as young adults we seem to be wrapped up in our delusions of maturity. We seem to believe that certain things are beneath us, or behind us. Not today though. Today I rediscovered that little boy inside me, and realized just how much fun this lad is capable of generating.

The day began with a healthy bout of chasing a crazy sheep around. He led us on a merry dance around Matunda Village, where I have come to spend a few weeks with my good friend and his wonderful family. We, myself, my friend and his brother, looked like the African Three Stooges as we stumbled around at full tilt in pursuit of the rogue animal, cursing in full voice as the village juveniles added raucous peals of laughter to the comedy soundtrack of panicked bleating and yelled (and ultimately useless) instructions from my friend; who seemed to have made it a matter of personal import to catch the escapee because it had bowled him over in his dash for freedom.

We eventually caught the energized ball of smelly wool, and decided to go looking for guavas, which are in season. We walked around aimlessly for almost an hour, all three of us suddenly experts on the prime locations for the hard but delicious fruit. It did not occur to us ‘pros’ to ask any of the scruffy looking kids who kept passing us while chewing hard on the seedy fruit where they were getting their stash from. Rather, we eventually found a tree with exactly four barely ripe fruit, but our pride interpreted our find as a rare one, the tiny almost ripe, bitter guava, we reasoned to each other, was quite better than the huge, ripe, succulent specimens those kids were poisoning themselves with. What did they know?

With our ‘lunch’ secured, it was time for the main activity of the day. Fishing. There is a beautiful spot where the water seems to waft around the rocks, ethereal in its appearance, and we planted ourselves there, with our dodgy fishing rigs (long sticks, bent pins, and strong nylon rope) each of us loudly expressing confidence that we would be fighting with monster catches before long.

Fishing is wonderfully relaxing. I was fortunate enough to have the company of two great friends, and the weather could not have been any better- the sun smiling down on terra benevolently, with the sounds of the water flowing gently by accompanied by the odd twitter of a bird and rasping of an insect somewhere on the bank. We lost track of time, laughing and gabbing away. There were moments of utter tranquility, moments that lended themselves almost perfectly to introspection, as we sat there watching the life blood of the planet slide past.

Life today is almost impossibly expensive, and not just financially so. Demands placed on our time, talents and minds are mind boggling. But rather than blow off steam we seem to want to spend even more of our precious resources trying to buy rest and relaxation. No can do, people. Take some time out. Go back to the time when your biggest worry was your Mum catching you with your hand deep inside the sugar jar. It costs you nothing. Rediscover your childhood.

Oh, and no, none of us caught anything. Except, in the case of my pal, a leech from accidentally* falling in the water.

*accidentally here meaning we pushed him in.

Iloti Mutoka

Moi University | 2 stories

I was born and raised in Kenya, and have lived here all my life. I am a law student at Moi University, which is in a small agricultural (literally and figuratively) town in the Rift Valley. My blog will be about life here. Enjoy!

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