The thing about getting to work where you grew up, is that that environment keeps you real. No matter how old you think you’ve gotten, how different you feel you’ve become, how versatile and a wordsmith you’ve become once in a while its stripped down to you simply become the local boy.
Okay I know there are those who’ve been born, schooled, “hustled” (had to put it here) worked and lived (on their own) in the same town/area! So in this case the interest is seeing how you made it through the craziness that was you growing up! (One “the sayantist” can tell you all about that)
I recently got packed and shipped okay bussed to Mombasa, on what for almost a year is meant to be a job. So you can imagine the thought and wishes of my Nairobi krew; of how Mombasa would be, how I would be forced to change that is speak I Swahili all the time, wear short sleeved shirts, always in sandals and pilau and madafu everyday (Oooh how narrow minded are we to what we don’t now or see). Even how hilarious it would be to re-connect with my coastarian lingua. No biggy!! Because hey! that was my home town..born and bred. It didn’t matter that I had never been to Mombasa (for work) for more than two weeks.
So I realize than I’ve grown up! The city has changed me, my thoughts, my perspectives, my loves and tastes, my ills, poisons and even my prejudices. Of course I‘ve decided that I will fit my seemingly obviously okay me into his (not so) new environment because if you can make it in Nairobi, you can make it anywhere.
The current me is a mix. I’ve got the subtle (and at times not so subtle) aggressiveness for what I want, the go getter, the all work no no-nonsense; the If you can do it then do it and fast. I pull off and drag on my style. My locks don’t define me, but are a style just like you with the short hair. I walk the street iPod in ears at high volume; Throw in shades or heavy chromed/tinted glasses; Whizz through traffic and the streets .If I know you a nod and a wave if I don’t (of you ain’t familiar) then too bad. English is the language or better yet a mix of Swa & English with some sheng’ if I can’t help it-hey this is Mombasa not Nairobi by the way!! Talk fast, move fast with an eye for quick ways to solve problems, do the tasks and move on to other things…..
And of course the heat, that I now and always feel more than the locals (that I used to be); I wow at the beach once in a while. I at times get lost in the way the people speak and the words they use. I’ve managed to convince my folks mostly the parents that it’s them that see me as weird. I’m just different. We’re all different and that as long as you can defend your action and style of doing things (and they are not legal) then heck….its Mombasa that has narrow perception.
But then out of the blues…a random on the street “hey vipi jamaaa la Kongowea” (ain’t you the guy from Kongowea……)” It’s a familiar face, I can’t place it but all the same it is familiar. Small talk and you realize they are part of those you grew up with, they raised you, helped you crossed the road. They saw your talents and capabilities growing up. They saw you potential.
Now you’re this other entire guy, who shuts the world and defines a new one. Talks a new, and walks with a new step. Has a mop head and to him shaggy is a style…but underneath that I am still jamaa wa Kongwea
So I have come to lean that it’s all good to be true to you but also at the same time to be fluid. Flo ka maji Flow like water, and know just when and where the flow will be kama ni kwa kopo, bakuli, kifufu ama baharini… if it’s a cup, a bowl, a coconut shell or the ocean!!
In flowing you know yourself, to the core, to your bowels!! Now who you are and were underneath; in this you can pull your way into whatever. You can define what is and redefine what it is; you can say what the heck and be okay with what you say (and do). You can defend what you create and sell it to some, many and if lucky to all. You can screw-minds and twist perspectives. But in flowing keep real what is underneath, for me in Mombasa ni Yule Kijana wa Kongowea