Thursday, February 2, 2012

Africa: The Return

I went to Africa. Came back from Africa. And learned a few things along the way.

Observation #1
When going to Africa, it is best not to say this. Instead, Africans prefer you say you are going to Ghana. Or Kenya. Or Mozambique. Or Mali. I think this is because these are actually countries, as opposed to Africa, which is not a country. Africa is a continent. (note: I have already exceeded what is taught in American public school geography classes). These countries have flags, and unique languages, and national dishes. This is also why you cannot go to a restaurant that serves "African" food. Unless you are in the World Showcase at EPCOT.

Observation #2
In Kenya, they really do say hakuna matata. And it really does mean "no worries!"

Observation #3
Road signs, traffic lights.....meh, who needs 'em?

Observation #4
"Organized" places--like airports, for example--give the appearance of being systematized and rather conventional. But then, they are frequently missing those minor yet important details. Like signs. And gate information. Next time you're in the area, try to find Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi to Amsterdam. I dare you.

Observation #5
Their hospitality is remarkable. Seriously. Every morning at breakfast, each person greeted one another. It was like I stepped right into the Walton's kitchen. "Good morning, Karin. Good morning, Paul. Good morning, George." And 'round and 'round we went. To an American (me), this was completely inefficient. Just yell out a generic "'morning!" to the crowd. But to be personally greeted by so many was heartwarming. And a tea break where you actually stop working and drink tea and converse with other people, twice a day?! I think they're on to something. And the smiles of these guys! Oh, the smiles.

In all, it was an incredible trip. Here's why I went. And for the highly detailed among you (and the State Department, just in case they read this thing), I was in Accra, Ghana (West Africa) for several days and then took an overnight flight to Nairobi, Kenya (East Africa) to finish out the trip. I should also note, the weather in Kenya will be the weather in Heaven. I'm sure of it.

To see all the photos:
And last but certainly not least, I leave you with my very favorite part of Africa that I already miss the most. The singing!!


michael said...

It looks and sounds like an incredible trip Karin!

rachel said...

1 - true. pretty sure i have told you this but i let it slide since it was your first time. lesson learned.
2 - :)
3 – really, who does?
4 – “minor” is the key word here.
5 – what do you know? there’s stuff we can actually learn from them! or many things.

SO glad you finally made it to my part of the world. and i really appreciate you doing it while i was still there, so i could experience it with you :)

Benson Mugendi Njagi said...

Hahahahaha. glad that you really had an awesome time. bet you had a real good culture shock too. thats the beuty of diversity.
The traffic rights......OMG which Kenyan really needs them? the unwritten code is - for you to be the best driver, drive carelessly. Thank God you didn't get the best.hahaha, just kidding
Africa - Kenya Loves you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karin...I've nominated you for an award (insert evil laugh). Here it is: