As i seat in my cheap motel room in Arusha and reading a great book called Americanah i could not help but ask myself why do i love this town so much?
I first came to know about Arusha through “mama c” or Charlotte O’Neal and Pete O’Neal who are members of the Black Panther party. Pete and Charlotte made the painful decision to leave America in 1970 after Brother Pete fell victim to COINTELPRO and they eventually relocated to Algiers, Algeria the site of the International Section of the Black Panther Party founded by Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver, where they lived and worked for two years. It is after that they settled in Arusha where they are until now.
I made a decision to come here today after work because i am sorry but my country Kenya is becoming a place unbearable and impossible to stay in. Our constitution that we fought for and people even died for has been violated particularly by the present regime, crime has risen and even took the life of my father figure Tom Alela (RIP), the poor are getting poorer, the rich are getting richer through unscrupulous methods, the police level of impunity is at an all-time high, our drainage system has never changed since the 1960s, the media is gagged and a whole lot of problems that quite honestly make me ashamed to be Kenyan.
I came here with the love of my life last year and it was a place full of positive vibes, we walked round the villages and felt the warmth and love from kids, the elderly, vegetable vendors, boda boda riders (who made sure we had helmets) got invited to parties by complete strangers and we had the time of our lives. Walking around the market in the town there was a sense of safety taking pictures and people smiling around this great town. My companion had a beautiful smile her whole stay in Arusha which was a beautiful site. There was hope, food is cheap, traffic controlled and generally people are just HAPPY.
Question is why are we not peaceful in Kenya?
Why every time i watch the news something bad has to happen?
Why does the executive violate the constitution?
Why do we create a facade that we are a great nation yet we falter every year?
I’m i the only one who sees this?
The fact we are selling out to the Chinese?
Who build a railway line crossing the national park?
Are we seeing how divided we are as a country?
Is Kenya a country you want to live in now?
Do you feel safe?
Terry Pratchett once said “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
I came to Arusha to be grateful and to Stop thinking about the things not going for me and appreciate life and freedom.
I came here to ground myself Literally. Plant my bare feet on the earth as often as possible till i go back to Nairobi.
I came to feel safe and free for the first time in a very long time.
I came here to have hope and never give up on what i believe in.
To do what i love which is addressing issues without feeling scared the police might arrest me . When you are passionate about something you will not only do well in it, but also have fun partaking in whatever it may be.