It was with great sadness that I learned that one of my friends passed away last week.
Even though I wrote about impermanence recently, it is still hard, so very hard, to know such a colourful life is no more.
I remember spending a month sitting on the shores of Lake Malawi next to my friend, playing games of mbau, diving into the crystal clear waters and heading off for kayaking trips and other such palandromic delights – giggling all the way through.
She was a lover of life and laughed more in her 31 years than many do in 90 years.
I hope she will forgive me for the somewhat triteness of a blog post in her honour. However, in tribute to and in celebration of her and that time in Africa together, here is a list of things that make Kenyan existence so special, and life so worth appreciating:
- The continual, unabashed laughter, friendliness and smiles that are ready at the slightest provocation from everyone you meet.
- A willingness to spend time doing the things that matter, like spending time with family, or just chatting.
- The sense of community.
- Everyone here has time for you. It is impossible to get anyone to rush (even if you are in one). Time isn’t money.
- People can spend hours waiting without the need for iPhones, newspapers or distraction.
- Children, who run free and happily without the need for overprotection. Brothers and sisters look after one another.
- The sparkle in peoples’ eyes.
- A complete lack of efficiency, which worries nobody (save for the tourists).
- Acres and acres of sunshine. I can’t remember what it’s like to feel the cold. Poor me.
- Kindness – people with nothing will give you everything they have if you need it more than they do.
- A mixture of sweat, sunshine, good unprocessed food and inevitable exercise makes life here inevitably healthy.
- Nothing has a fixed price.
- Everything out here is difficult, yet nothing is impossible – you can get anything done, if you have the patience.
- Being outside all the time. Our house has no windows we live and sleep in the fresh air, 24/7.
- Nature is all around us, from bush babies in the garden, to ants attacking any dinner that has been left out to long. We’re within 20 minutes drive of an elephant watering hole, where we will be going tonight with ‘Tuskers’ to hand to watch these majestic creatures slink (yes, elephants can slink) out of the bush.
- The ocean, with its myriad of blues, greens and delights. From kitesurfing atop the waves to plunging beneath them.
- The dancing – never have I seen bottoms move so majestically and, of course, suggestively.
- A lack of caution, whether that be climbing to the tops of rickety ladders, night time adventures or just a healthy sense of abandon.
I know that she enjoyed these things, further confirmed by her demands that at her memorial service there, ‘be no black, no girly hymns and a party afterwards with plenty of booze.’
It is with her in mind, I try to appreciate each day.
I’m very sad to be missing the service, as I miss her… and my heart goes out to her friends and family.