Friday, February 01, 2008

Thinking about Kenya

I could tell you about the taste of fresh avocados and Ribena, the sandy beaches of Mombasa and the colors of the Indian Ocean, the monkeys sneaking into our garden to get their fill of bananas, about our countless safaris, about riding horses and on one rhino's back (yes, really!), I could tell you about a lake covered with pink-flamingos, about the elephants I always adored, and all the happiness Kenya gave the blessed child I was.
But my heart shrinks, as the news bring daily updates on the violence in Kenya, and I can only think of the faces of people I loved. First and foremost, my nanny Jane's beautiful smile, as I tasted maize meal in her room. The handsome, aloof Masai in his traditional jewelry, who accepted to pose for a picture with my sister and me. My parents' Sikh acquaintances, who invited us to curry dinners at their homes - and that Sikh man I saw one morning, tying his sumptuous hair before he put on his turban. And Joseph, and Francis, the familiar and comforting figures who made home, home. I hope they are all safe.

To learn about Africa, its plights and its success stories, and above all its people, check out Afropolitans, where Beverly links to articles from the international press and many online resources.

22 comments:

Flora said...

I'm guessing the long haired smiling blonde is you ... who's sitting next to you? Can we know? Maybe the oracle can tell us!

Mary-Laure said...

Dear Flora, indeed I am the one with the long hair. Next to me, with the pigtails, is my super cute younger sister, Céline. We're wearing our dear Mombasa T-shirts, and sitting on my dad's Peugeot car.

Bexy said...

hi hi hello

thank you for visiting my little blog and for being kind enough to leave a comment. reading and finding new comments totally makes my day!
i'm far too excited about my upcoming trip and your post here has made me think about a previous month spent in
south africa. it's fantastically beautiful country that is also plagued by trouble, violence and badness. i hope kenya can be resolved one day - i'd hate for another part of that beautiful continent to be hurt beyond repair.
bexy x

pia said...

hi mary-laure, thanks for sharing your history and continuing on with bringing awareness with the kenyan situation. as soon as i finished my round up of african designers the violence broke out again just when I was sure it was subsiding. i wish there was more we could all do. px
PS that is such a gorgeous photo btw.

The Clothes Horse said...

What a poingnant post. I feel sad knowing that a base I lived on in Germany when I was little is gone, but it's hardly the same as your experience. At least we will both have the memories...

andrea tachezy said...

Mary-Laure, it is so nice written, I could spend hours reading your posts!
What about your Oracle? Unfortunately my black one is working just in the question of food :-(

Megan said...

Beautifully written, it makes a stronger statement.

ALL THE BEST said...

Very well written...thanks for the human touch! Love the photo!

artycho said...

Beautifuly written post! your memories seam so clear! Kenya must be amazing and I imagine all the pain you must feel today for the country, and your loved ones over there...

design for mankind. said...

You are a LOVELY writer!

marie said...

growing up in kenya today would be very different - hopfully peace is close by

pve design said...

Sentimental post and let's hope that the situation will change in Kenya, especially for children and those you love.

Jill said...

This is a beautifully written post, Mary-laure. I can't think how sad it must be for you to have lived in two countries, Iraq and now Kenya that have been torn by war and violence and knowing that the people there that you have known and loved are undoubtably affected by it.

swampgirl said...

hello mary-laure. i am delighted that you stopped by my swampy corner of the world.

i love this photograph. you and your sister have such warm smiles ... like you are loved well and can reflect it back to the world in your faces.

while reading your description of kenya, i felt like i was there in a tiny way. how wonderful to have been exposed to the world while you were a child. i was born in new york and lived in new york nearly all of my 42 years.

your little dog oracle is a hoot!

Beverly said...

Thanks so much for the comments. Tell your mom I said thanks too. I am still optomistic that a peace deal will be reaches especially since Annan and the UN Sec-Gen are there. Both sides are at least in negotiations. Its important to note this IS a political issue, its what set the whole thing going. My dad is there now (at a funeral for his mom) so we are doubly on edge. I continue to pray for the saftey of loved ones, and I do thing there will be a breakthrough sometime soon. There just has to be.

Mary-Laure said...

Dear Beve, my heart aches when I think that in addition to all this violence, you have to deal with your grandmother's passing away. My thoughts are with you and your family, with my love and best hopes for an end to this useless unrest.

the childcatcher said...

i was born and grew up in south africa
my mom was born in tanzania, and grew up in kenya
its strange reading what it must have been like for her
though it sounds like a beautiful place :)
xo

design dna said...

i have been reading africabeat and the like lately as i try to round up contacts in traditional textile. i will be sure to check out afropolitans.

i can not imagine such unsettling times. the us is so topsy turvy now but we are so spoiled and can not even imagine such hardship and danger and uncertainty. don't you wish the whole world would just scoop each other up with love and compassion?

Mary-Laure said...

Thank you all for your wonderfully caring comments. I am moved to read that you are concerned about the situation in Kenya.
Childcatcher, you seem to come from such an interesting family background, I'd love to hear more!

Alvaro M. said...

Me pareció emocionante el relato sobre Kenya, me imagino tus recuerdos de chica y luego ver y sentir como se desangran ahora, no debe ser nada lindo.

Nora said...

La verdad que está muy bien tu blog, por la variedad de cosas que tiene,. Me encantó la foto de ustedes sobre el capó del auto, a pesar del contenido referente a Kenya, por un lado el recuerdo de esa época de la niñez de tus hijas y por otrola cruel realidad que se está viviendo.

Mary-Laure said...

Queridos Alvaro y Nora, muchas gracias por los comentarios! Me emociona mucho pensar que leen mi blog en el Uruguay! Les mando un gran beso.