My Life in a Small Rural African Town: Beauty and Bliss
Having spent my life so far in the (BBC) Big Bad City, some adjustments I have had to endure when it happened that opportunity’s home was some small town just north of the African equator.
B no means was I heading to Alaska in search of fame and fortune. Thing is that I live in the part of the world where we cross the equator without crossing national borders ever so often when heading home to visit kinsmen during the various holidays, on business, or heading to work and such like daily life activities.
Nonetheless, if you had the Big Apple in mind on my mention of the Big Bad City, off the mark you weren’t so far on account of the comparison of life between Nairobi and NYC. The town that I now call home could might as well be Alaska if the the sentiments of the locals of east and central African hold that the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, is the New York of this part of the world.
I must admit that, on arrival to this little outpost the thought of living as the Romans do when in Rome, appeared a daunting task for a city soul like yours truly. However, as it is, living in the 21st century means to be prepared that old truths are so often negated. Keeping true to the estimates of the UN Habitat, rural Africa now very much has a feel of the pulse of the world-though faint- as the villages transform into urban villages.
Case in point? This article comes to you thanks to the wonders of the marriage of mobile technology and the internet. Might I add that my 3G+ internet connection is way faster, more reliable than it was in east and central Africa’s New York- Nairobi. Besides, now that I know where I can purchase my bread, soap and ale, I can safely assume that I have adjusted to life in a small town.
I say adjusted as the inevitable truth is that in spite of the rapid urbanization of life in the 21st century, the small towns of this world, some gems they are:
Life In A Small Town: The good
In the city, hardly anyone says hello. No one gives a damn how your morning is. Strangers are to remain strange as you never know why that person unknown to you just said hi. The reasons are understandable as urban legends are full of tales of many who have lost their life fortunes and the unfortunate many who have lost their lives following a ‘hello’ that they wrongly perceived as an innocent salutation.
Small towns are warmer than cities even if electricity is still a scare utility in most parts. Neighbors are neighborly. Small town folk often act not motivated by the paper chase. Just last week, I had left my laundry out to dry when while I was away, the rain.
Later, coming home to find my laundry not hung on the lines, I was already making arrangements for finances as city mentality told me it was time to go shopping for new threads, only for my neighbor to ring my bell and on my hands place my neatly folded dry laundry. Grateful I was, humbled and most importantly such an ass I felt for all the times I passed by without a bother to say, “Habari Yako” [Swahili: How are you doing?]
Life In a Small Town: The Inconveniencing
Used to life round the clock, trooping out of the house a few hours past midnight to soothe hunger pangs and clear my mind with a cup of coffee and idle chat with the proprietor at Smoothies, Coffee n Fries -my preferred 24hour eatery in my city neighborhood- following hours of writing on end; not so life in the small town.
Adjusting To Life In A Small Town: The Healthy
Did I mention that all my food is fresh from the farm? Really fresh not advertised fresh. Milk comes by the milkman on bicycle barely a quarter an hour from the cows udder. My vegetables? From my neighbor’s organic kitchen garden.
I think I forgot how red meat tastes like as the river barely 800 metres from my house bears quite a good catch of fresh fish not forgetting to mention the mushrooms sold by the young lady vendor just outside my gate. Oh! My, fresh fruit picked from the mango, paw paw, guava and avocado trees that dot my compound. Some change in cuisine considering that all I got in the city for a couple hundred dollars of rent was a balcony facing the car smoke polluted street.
Till next time, off I go, plenty to do before the sun sets. A nature walk, a traditional wedding that I have to be part of. Just like in the old times, when society was more closely knit not pseudo-knit as it with Facebook, twitter and the likes, everyone is invited. Still miss the city though!