When I turned away from items literally thrust into my face by street traders, the cursing that followed was enough to put a sailor to shame.
“Unafikiri wewe ni wa kwanza, tumeona wengi,” some said in Swahili.
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I was there to renew my passport and she was going through the bit on the form on spouse details. “But how does it compare to being married to an African? You can compare,” she said, as if I’m married to my father.
She went on, blinking her eyes and laughing: “I hear Europeans kiss a lot, buy you flowers, spend hours looking at you, staring into your eyes.” I looked at her cheeky face across the counter, bemused. But I had always hoped to marry from outside my tribe, after all, my middle name means “of outside,” and I would be living up to it. Let’s give credit where it is due: I don’t think there are men in Kenya that can sweet talk a woman better than a Luo man. Before I married my husband, we worked together on the same research group. But I had no idea that dating a white guy on the Kenyan coast was such a minefield.
I don’t know how many times I have had this sort of conversation. He was this cute guy with an interesting brain – he never said what was expected. With all the sex tourism around here, it would be assumed that I was a commercial sex worker.
It breathes, it flies, it sings, it is still and it is also full of life.
A couple of days away from India’s Independence Day, we look at ‘freedom’ through the third eye.
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She spoke as though white people were an alien species, but then again, non-Kenyans on long working stays require an alien identification card from the immigration office. It surprises me that no one protests against the naming of that ID, but I digress. When we walked on the streets of Mombasa together, the comments made were caustic.
“You have eaten, now bring him here so that we too can eat”, some said “Kwani?