Monday, October 25, 2010

It's good to travel, but it's the best to be back at home.

I left Shianda for 10 days to visit my friends in the other parts of Kenya. At first I really enjoied the luxury of having electricity and floor that was having some cover - not just pure soil, I enjoied the running water and the toilet that was inside the house and it had even electricity. Then I went to Kabarnet, where I continued enoying the same things, but after few days I felt somehow not peacefully.

I arrived yesterday evening back to Shianda and I realised that actually I had missed our mud-hut. It was great to light the parafinlamp and to listen the sounds of the nature around our house. It was so great to have this peace and time. It was also a good feeling to have one place that feels like home in this country. Where, after I have been away for 10 days, people say hello, give me the key to our home, say that they missed me and just simply offer the dinner.

Its also good to reach to the place where I know exactly, how the things are and I can skip all the hussle caused by not knowing. It's good to find my things from the house, even if there's so few of them. Even that small amount feels like a lot actually. Me, Alari and Elen came to Kenya, having one small backbag of personal things and stayed for 1 or 2 or 6 months.

What I have discovered is that if there are people living somewhere, then they possibly need the same basic things for living as I do. Therefore, worrying about what to take or taking too much to the trip is kind of overrated. All these fancy packing lists that everybody have in the internet, full of the expensive gear for any possible occasion- it's much more fun to buy things locally, as well it's often cheaper - for example the malaria prevention cure, mosquito net, hand sanitaiser and water purifier are definetaly cheper in Kenya than in my country. In general I like Kenyan supermarkets very much - they have really everything you could ever need (except the special make up and hair products for white skin and blond hair) and the choice is wide. Sometimes it's possible to find really great products, like the torch that's rechargable from the socket - it's our favorite thing and we use it every day.

One day, me and Alari tried to make the minimal list of things that we need for living in Kenya in the mud hut style and the list is following:
  • 1 pair of sandals, 2 pairs of trousers (1 pair of long trousers), 3-4 t-shirts and one long sleeved pullover, socks and underwear - should be logical :)
  • pen, notebook, 1-2 books (but also possible to buy local magazines and newspapers instead)
  • camera
  • money
  • toilet paper
  • soap, shampoo
  • comb
  • hand sanitizer
  • small backbag
  • medicines - malaria prevention, painkillers, bandages, thermometer is also a good luxury thing to have
  • torch/flashlight
  • i-pod/mp3 player (can be also used as a flash disk)
  • small scissors
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
Should be all :)

Anyway. It's raining in Shianda as usually - this place has really a lot of rain and it's also kind of cold (cold in the African way), but it's fine, I like this kind of weather anyway more than hot one. They say that in December, the local summer will start - we'll see.

But I finish now and will go and enjoy the mud hut and peace.


  1. Hey, I thought that I comment your list from my reality. For example I used hand sanitizer only few times, and soon thought that whatever the risks, I don't use it anymore. I also had only one pack of Malarone, I used it only once I think. Well, yes we didn't have so great danger to get malaria, as it is said that on elevations over 2000m, but still, even when going to the trips to lower ground we decided to risk (As malaria prevention medicines often have very bad sideefects and generally taking these for long time is not good for organism. Yes of course also Malaria if you get it is terrible.. you basically have the virus in you forever and get sick again and over again (and probably destroying your organism with every time). There is not good options. But we anyway chose not to take these preventive pills). Basically I didn't have anything else from medicines with me other than headache pills and actually I found out that I should have had some medicines for stomach. Although I didn't have many medical problems, I wasn't prepared for the ones I had.. therefore this was bit of a problem. But yes, most pills you can get cheaper from Kenya. But avoid need to go to hospital, as then they prescribe you lots of expensive medicines.
    Yes I would advise to take flashlight, although I bought myself a phone with flashlight from Kenya (when my old one was stolen)and I also advise to take scissors and a knife. Also lighter would be good idea.. especially if you hike.
    I also thought that photocamera is essential, but as mine was stolen in fourth day, I got used to living there without one (yeah, I still got photos from others.. but at one point I came to think that anyway it is absurd to make photos as reminder and even more to make them to give some understanding of this alien place for your friends and family in homecountry. Take notebook and some pens. Writing is best. Especially if you want white paper then buy notebook from home country as in Kenya I didn't find any with white pages. With pens, the situation isn't as good as in EU (meaning, most pens are crap.. but maybe I'm also too choosy), but there are some places where you can get pens almost as good as in home.
    MP3 player.. I took it, and most of the time I didn't find much use for it. But then again, if you live in a place without electricity, then it may be good to hear some music. But actually I again would suggest phone with radio, and search as many different local radiostations as possible.
    Clothes.. not many as I would suggest to go to market in Kenya, but some good shoes take from home. And take something warm and some jacket that has inner pockets.
    Big bags we needed mostly for hiking not so much for geting our things to Kenya. Although yes, I had big army bag full when coming, but we also needed to bring sheets for bed. and I had small bag inside the big one as I could not go everywhere with big bag. One English guy also suggested to walk around with basically empty decoy bag.. and if you are in such a town as Eldoret or Kisumu or even bigger city, then it certainly is thing to think about.
    Anyway, other things are basically the same. Basics.

  2. Thanks for the comments, I hope these are helpful for the next travellels.

    After getting some really bad stomach diseases, I wash hands or use the hand sanitaizer if possible, my memories from being sick are still too fresh:)

    Yes, the comment about shoes - it's true, I bought my current shoes from Nairobi sport shop and they are really good, but the good ones are difficult to find locally.

    Malaria prevention I use even if I am not so afraid of maleria, if I get it then I get it, I use the prevention cure, cause I have the possibility to do that. Luckily I have not recognized any side effects.

    Camera - I even sent mine home after the first month and use now another to make videos for my family and friends. While second time in Kenya, I feel no need of taking photos and I feel better this way, but first time I sometimes really enjoied taking photos :)

    Music is sometimes good to get a rest of all this hussle and as sometimes it's impossible to find peace and private room and time, ipod/mp3 is the easiest way to escape and rest, also good for the long bus trips.

    Yep, and I also love writing.

    But in general, few things, simple ones and almost everything is possible to buy locally. Like one guy said me before I came here first time: just take passport, 2 t-shirts and sandals and come!