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Culture Shock

overcast 28 °C

We checked into our resort at around 3pm today, it's now 7pm and I'm struggling to wake Josh to get some dinner. We are both exhausted but we have limited time here so I think we will still attempt to go out tonight.

The last flight to Mombasa we had was very easy, and everything at customs went super smoothly. We got our bags and we decided to take a cab to our hotel, about an hour and a half's drive, instead of trying the local transportation. We sure are glad we went that route as it was quite the trek out here and our driver knew exactly what to do.


Josh told me I'd have some culture shock when we got here, but I wasn't prepared for what I saw. On our hour and a half drive we saw some crazy traffic (no traffic lines, no rules of the road... and this was a mellow day). Driving through the streets of Mombasa and seeing the workers working so hard for what I can only imagine is far less than what we know to be minimum wage was difficult to witness. The construction workers were doing everything by hand and towing things using their own bodies as the machines behind their carts. Every store front we built out of cardboard and old wood and anything they could find to patch together. The colours were amazing throughout the city but behind the paint was so little substance it was absolutely shocking. Keep in mind these photos were taxen through a dirty taxi window.


There were people everywhere, in yards there were kids playing by themselves and people tending to their daily chores or leisure. "Restaurants" were full of people gathered to eat and cooking in old dirty pots right on the street. There were also goats and cows everywhere we looked, some tied up, some free roaming. We even saw a few groups being herded through the busy streets by their owners.


I think what overwhelmed me the most was just seeing all of the people with nothing. They have nothing here. Josh has always talked about this but I've never understood it until now, and the extent of my experience is an hour and a half drive through one city. We had to take a short ferry over while in our taxi, and seeing the volume of people and what they were wearing was just shocking. I can see now why Josh gave his clothes away the last two times he lived here.


Once we reached our villa I was so overwhelmed I couldn't help but to cry. It was also excruciatingly hot and muggy and I couldn't wait to get the last two travel days washed off of me. We dipped in the pool, which was too warm to be refreshing, and then headed down to the beach where we had our first contact with the Indian Ocean. I was hoping it would be at least cooler than the pool, and Josh was right yet again, it was like bath water. You can't see anything in the distance, just straight ocean, and yet the water is as warm as a bathtub.

We were instantly swarmed by the locals looking for our business; it's their off season so tourism is low and they shared with us that they hadn't eaten that day. One man with only one leg brought his dog out to meet us, and his dog was so hungry he wouldn't let me pet him without scouring over my hands to see if there was anything to eat. He almost seemed delusional. Josh went to visit their small market and I was feeling so overwhelmed so I just headed back up to the resort to take a breather. I couldn't help the tears from flowing - these people were the real deal, and while their tactics are probably the same year round, I don't doubt they didn't eat today.

We'll head to dinner and then I look forward to a full nights sleep and a fresh start for the morning.

Posted by kvandervegan 09:24 Archived in Kenya

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Aww, what a day! ❤

by Lisa McInnes

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