Challenges on Home-coming!!

Back to Kenya!!

Participants during Prep Course.

Two key courses offered under the Fredskorpset Exchange (FK) program is the Preparatory course and the Home-Coming Seminar. May this year, together with my fellow exchange participants, we gathered in Oslo for 3 days home-coming seminar. I never knew it can be a big challenge going back home after just a year. I consoled myself, I am a Kenyan and “Kenyanism” is deep-rooted in me, so why would I find it a challenge? After the seminar, I tried to picture the challenges that lay ahead of me but I consoled myself, “Come on, I will manage, there is more into being home than focusing on imaginary challenges. If anything, some of these are things that I really missed within the first few months of my stay abroad.”

I felt at peace being at home, eating Ugali, pilau and chapati using my fingers leave alone spoons, I almost forgot using knives and forks for a while. All the time I ate using my fingers I remembered one of my Norwegians friends, whom I invited for dinner, I made Ugali and he insisted on eating using a fork and a knife. I let him be, especially when he told me, “Oh, that is so primitive, only our fore fathers did that. We can´t do this in this civilized way of living”.

Home Coming Seminar, 2011

 Of course he was right, but within a few seconds of saying that, he spilled all the food on his trousers as I watched and thought to myself, “Mmmmm, what you just did is even more primitive.” Only young kids in Kenya will make such disasters. But, I understand them Norwegians, I once taught a group of my girlfriends how to eat with their fingers and it was such a hard task for them.

My one month in Kenya saw me travel a lot but I still missed the peaceful way of living in Norway. The quite life, cars moving yet I never hear the hooting and shouting of the bus conductors and drivers. I missed the peace in the buses. Back at home, the matatus in the city with the boom-twaf kind of music I found it so irritating. Too much noise, I always felt like, gosh, this is too much! All the time I did long distance travel, I stayed awake for the first time, I thought to myself, did Kenya change? What happened to the drivers? Seems they all became very reckless just within a year. That saw me travel by four different bus companies, and though I always booked myself the executive seats, still there was no difference. Same drivers, chewing miraa, hooting all along the Mombasa highway, poor roads and noisy passengers. All this I kept to myself.

The Traffick Situation in Nairobi.

VIP Treatment

“Be on the look out, don´t think everyone will be there to give you the VIP treatment you expect now that you have been away for a year. That doesn’t take long, after a few days they are used to you being at home and all the excitement goes away. It happens, it shouldn´t suprise you.” Said one of the psychologist at the homecoming seminar. Of course I never expected any VIP treatment, I was just going back home to have a break and see my family and friends. So as it happened, I was prepared for it.

The first few days, I already got tired with answering the same questions about Norway. “So how is it to be in Norway? Do you like it there? How about the people, do they discriminate against you, are they racists? How about those Mzungu men, did you get yourself one? Do you plan to get yourself a permanent job there? How about the food, do you miss home? And so many more questions.  “Not so long you get bored of answering the same questions over and over.” Warned the psychologist. True to his words, that was me!

Nairobi City

However, the most boring bit is the expectations that Kenyans put on people who have been abroad. I am sorry to have disappointed most of you. “You haven´t changed”, “Oh You haven´t changed much as I expected.”“Oh you are still the same Patience we knew.” “I don´t know but I expected a different person, especially after a whole one year. You haven´t forgotten Swahili.” You don’t even have an accent. Bla, bla, bla, bla, bla!!! Honestly, what change did you expect from me, it´s just been a short while, I am just the same girl, but guess some of you had too much expectations, I am sorry, if I did disappoint any of you.

Has she changed?? New Accent?

Once we were sitting with my girlfriends over lunch hour in Nairobi and one of our friends called one of them and the conversation went like, “ We are having lunch with this Norwegian girl, it´s been a while you know.” She said and the voice on the other side went like “ He he he, how is she, has she changed, does she have an accent? I will be meeting her to see for myself.” “Oh no, she is still the same bubbly girl you know with better Swahili than the rest of us, she  hasn´t changed, we thank God for that.” She responded. At this juncture I had to explain myself.

FK Participants at the Prep Course.

“Listen people, too much expectations, I see. This girl hasn´t changed much, I am still the old Patience, one thing that has changed, which you might not realise for now, is the fact that I am not the same girl who left Kenya, so much has happened within a year, I have seen various places and people, learnt a lot about life in Norway and Europe at large, toured various countries in Europe and sharpened my worldview. I have a better exposure to life,  got more experience as far as my career is concerned, and basically a better view of life in the diaspora. It´s not what many of us imagine. That is basically the change, which many of you might not notice as you were too busy concentrating on very minor changes.” I explained.

Others expected me to go back home with a Norwegian accent, sorry people. I still speak fluent Swahili and my mother tongue to bits. I am just the same Kenyan girl but my thinking has changed. If you expected me to bring a European Swag, I am sorry!!! Now, I understand what it means when people go out of their countries, even for a short while and the whole world has too much expectations. Wait until it´s your turn, then you know it can be tough dealing with such kind of expectations!!

That was just part of my stay in Kenya, many more stories in my subsequent blog posts.

Enjoy your week ahead!!!!

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14 thoughts on “Challenges on Home-coming!!

  1. awesome, i like it girl, some of us get influenced so fast with the little expectations… but it seems you are a real lady

    1. Come on Juma, I really don´t want to appear naive, but the many expectations we put on people living abroad are just imaginary illusions. We are unique human beings, deep routed within us is what make US and THEM. Thanx for reading my blog post and posting your feedback. Its always highly appreciated.

  2. That is what I call, “being oneself”. I am persuaded, your personality runs deep! There is this girl from the church, I signed papers for her travel to USA, no sooner had she arrived in the States…: “hey pasteur, whaz-up? bla bla bla in native America Gang double speak…” I was like girl, you ain’t serious, after two days??

    You are more pleasant being you!

    So long Patience!

    1. Ha ahahhahahhaha ha ha, thanx for the laughter. Mmmmm, just after two days? Anyway, it could have been possible, who knows she was practising it while she was still in Kenya, so when her dream was finally fulfilled, it was quite easy for her to catch up. Thanx for your feedback Rev. Olive.

  3. Many of us expect you to walk on a hot Nairobi weekend dressed in winter gear and speaking some exotic language, paying your vegetable bills in foreign currency and giving tips for any favour done to you.

    1. Omotto my friend, you must be sick. If those were your expectations, Utangoja sana!!! Hahhahahaa!! Thats a bit to the extreme. Thanx for finding time to read my blog, will look for you online soonest!!

  4. Clearly you are so “Not Proud” of being Kenyan. In fact, from reading your blog YOU are now Norwegian. It appears you are embarrassed at being Kenyan, and there is nothing nice you have to say about Kenyans. The most you have succeeded in doing is negatively show off the flaws of your country. Do you think Norway has no flaws..? It would be naive to think that you can now claim a Norwegian Citizenship just from being there for one year.

    And in one year you have completely forgotten how fun it is to be Kenyan, flaws and all. Go ahead, while most of us in the Diaspora are marketing Kenya and the beauty therein, you are busy trying to “please” your Norway kin and folk by tryin to seem the outsider. “WE Norwegians!”

    Sorry honey to burst your bubble, you are still KENYAN! You cant scrape off the Kenyan in you, however hard you try. You will still remain Kenyan even after you ditch your country and nationality. It is a heritage you ought to embrace. You ought to take photos of your beautiful country and blog on them herein, to help those Norwegians understand that there is beauty in your country.

    Every country has flaws, slums, potholes and all… only you haven’t crossed them yet. Come on girl… be proud of who you really are… . Your blog has completely lost its luster since you even started complaining about your friends… and family….

    1. My friend Mkenya Halisi, my apologies if by any chance I made you think that I have ditched being a Kenyan. I am one strong Kenyan and as I said “Kenyanism” is deep routed in me. My apologies once more if there is anything false about Kenya in my blog. That is nothing but the truth from my angle of the story. Lets market Kenya in whatever way, but lets be honest and tell people about Kenya as it is. That is my policy, if there is anything we can do to see the change we need, we need to start telling people of how it is on the other world. This way, we will embrace the attitude “even Kenya will one day be there.” I am very proud of my country, with its flaws notwithstanding. I am born and brewed in Kenya and as my assignment comes to an end, you can be asurred, I will be packing and heading back home.

      Thank you so much for finding time to read my blog posts and even post your feedback. Those are your opinions, I highly respect them.

  5. Thanks for telling us your experience. I really enjoy your posting .Kindly take Mkenya Halisee “opinions” positively . Balance the kenyanism and the Norwegianism and come up with blog stories that shall sell our two countries .

    Keep it up.

  6. Thanx Mtana. I am definitely taking his opinions positively, that is why you see them on my page. This is an open page,all comments are welcome. Many thanx for finding time to read my blog.

  7. I admire your honesty n remaining true to yourself. Some if not most of our brethren/sistren would pretend to have acquired a different accent even if they were there for 1 week.

  8. Hey Patience! 🙂 Nice to read your blog. I suddenly came over it, and I found the pictures from the wedding, cool! Looking forward to see you again, hopefully next weekend! 😀 Hugs from Ann Therese

    1. Hey Ann Theresa, it was so nice seeing you today. I am happy that you finally managed to see the wedding story, hahahhaa!! Looking forward so seeing you next weekend, our dinner treat is still on. Thanx for reading my blog. Regards to Lisbeth. Klem!

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