I was not particularly excited that I would be travelling home for ten days during the Christmas of 2010. Barely three months before this due date I had spent copious amounts of time with my family and friends preparing for my departure to NYU Abu Dhabi. My sentiments may have been justified given that where I come from, in Africa, Kenya, real men are judged by the amount of time they spend away from their loved ones; the longevity of the time being directly proportional to their absolute manhood. Therefore coming home that early, after only three months away, was not a good sign for one striving to rank highly among the strong and mighty men of valor. Or just maybe, being ranked in this top echelon was just not a priority during last year’s most festive season.
I still remember the huge crowd that welcomed me to Kenya on the afternoon my flight landed. African drums vibrated and fused with the sharp ululation of the elderly women to make music that rekindled my African groove. I knew I was back home. Home where the gentle warm sun tickles our black African skins. Home where the cool evening breeze trails along the white sandy beaches; home where my African roots are deeply anchored like the pride of a Moran warrior.
I looked forward with great anticipation to beholding sights of tall majestic savanna trees, our native skyscrapers. I longed for the bouncing rides along the murram blanket roads, the scenery filled with undulating hills, the baths in the cool waters of the winding rivers, the walks in dense forests, the sound of thundering storms, the life-giving breathe of Africa. I knew the breasts of Mother Africa were hanging heavy with whitened milk for my sucking. And as Mother Africa gradually closed the gap between my extended lips and my trembling overstretched arms I could hear my heart beating at the rush of adrenaline, and my mouth slapping at the drip of saliva. My stomach twisted with excitement.
And that very holiday, despite an apparent poor ranking among those of yesterday’s generation, was the sharpening I needed to recharge my focus. I still remember rocking to the Kenyan beats in lowly lit nightclubs, the taste of Kenyan food wetting my appetite and my tongue coiling to the high consonants and low vowels of my mother tongue. And just for the record, Kenyan languages do not have any click sounds. That is more of a Southern fashion that is a still a stranger in the East.
So every time I make that trip away from home I know with military certainty that there are things that I will miss for a while. But the joy of reuniting with the music, food, language and my people keeps me alive till my return.