A Little Culture Shock

Day 27
I swore I would get out and about today and that’s exactly what I did. Kristyn and I went into the city to do some quality shoppingc which i guess was a new experience for her. Our first step was grabbing a bite to eat before walking over to the tents that were set up aroud the downtown area containing clothes, jewelry, shoes and more. We picked a good day to go into town as these tents turned out to have some really great finds. I ended up spending a lot more money than i planned to on gifts for people back home, but with two days left I guess it doesn’t matter.
We walked past street performers who were doing a lot more talking than performing. We stopped briefly to see what they were doing but as they were talking people started looking at us an laughing a bit. So we started to walk past when I heard “Mzungu! I know you can see us!” The only thing more funny than being part of a joke is not being able to understand the joke.
After buying several items we walked to the familiar coffee shop as the weather chose that time to pour down rain. Once seared, I with my cappuccino and her with her Americano and cheesecake we began talking about the comments a man was making to her. He requested for her to pay for his rent for two months, upon hearing this I was shocked! And then Kristyn mentioned that she didn’t know if she could be mad about it. She told me of a taxi driver whom she talked to and after haggling for the price of the ride asked if that was a fair price. He laughed and told her that because she is white she will always be charged more. It is a capitalist country and North Americans taught them that. So if someone agrees to pay 1,000 KSH then it is a fair price because they agreed to pay it. It was an interesting discussion to have, but I guess it goes along the lines of what my mom says. “If you never ask, then the answer is always no.” I guess the people down her abide by the same theory. I know I say all the time that I’m poor or I’m broke but compared to the people down here, I’m rich. The mere fact that I own a car in and of itself makes me rich in comparison.
Many people down here don’t even have a license because it’s too expensive to learn how to drive. It really puts things into perspective. How often do we complain about how little we have, we complain that our car is a piece of crap. But people down here will save money for thirty years just to be able to drive. I’m learning to be very appreciative of all that I have.
Relaxing at the house this evening was enjoyable as we all sat around talking. Leonard, (the cook from the school) asked us what our biggest challenges were here. I declared that it was getting adjusted to the school, I had to find my niche and find a way to make an impact and form a relationship with the kids. Kristyn asked if I felt I did that. I told her absolutely! The way the kids said goodbye and begged me not to go left no doubt in my mind that I left a mark on their lives.
It’s a wonderful feeling knowing I have gotten everything out of this trip I was looking for and more. If theres any advice I can give, its that everyone should do this once in their lives. It is truly an eye opening and life altering experience.

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1 Comment

  1. It’s amazing how other countries will treat you. Some capitalize on the fact that you are a foreigner, or by the correct of your skin, some it’s your religion. It’s definitely an eye opener. Always take those memories with you and never forget the feeling.

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