After over 12 hours of bus travel from Kampala, Uganda to Nairobi, Kenya (with no restroom stops!) I was feeling sick and weak. Once in Nairobi, all I wanted to do was take a taxi to my hostel and disappear from this world. It didn’t take long before I reached Khweza Bed and Breakfast, did my check-in, and headed straight to bed like a sick dog.
I’m not a high maintenance traveler and I always like to do things on my own, but this time I literally wanted to be taken care of (hey, it’s good to be pampered every once in a while!).
Khweza B&B was booked in collaboration with HostelBookers and turns out that their choice couldn’t have been more spot on. Why?…
From the very first moment I was “taken care of”. Since I arrived so early in the morning, I was offered breakfast, to be delivered to my room. Yikes, I’m not used to this service, but at that moment that’s all I wanted (otherwise I would have had my meals at their roof top bar which has a pretty nice view of Nairobi’s skyline – by the way, I was surprised to see Nairobi has a skyline!).
I spent my first day in Nairobi sleeping and resting. I didn’t know this at the time, but after talking to some of the staff I got to learn that Khweza is a Bantu (African) word that means “taking care of someone” or “to bestow upon”. They certainly did Khweza me.
During one of my last days at the B&B, Paul, who works there, asked me if I had experienced Nairobi’s nightlife. Um, no… So we made plans to go out after he finished his shift. That Saturday night we went to Attitude, a nightclub in Central Nairobi.
The music was good and the nightclub was comparable to any nightclub in the US, just with slightly different music. Though, I was surprised to hear Wisin Y Yandel being played there! (Puerto Rican reggaeton singers)
After a while, and a few drinks, Paul asked me what is it that I do for a living, and how is it possible for me to travel. He’s never been out of Kenya, but he dreams of seeing different parts of the world and often questions himself how could he do it, being an African living under the “African standard”.
I responded as best I could, but I felt that my answers wouldn’t satisfy him, since we come from such different backgrounds and environments.
Then he followed with, “Why can’t it be equal for Africans too?” I had no straight answer for it since that is something that is well beyond my understanding, but I assured him that I sincerely wish that it could be equal for them too, because they deserve it just as much as we do.
“What is the secret of travel?”, he added. I could only respond with, “There is no secret. I know we come from two completely different environments, but if you want to travel, or reach any goal or dream you have, you must have a lot of determination, patience, perseverance, a plan, and work hard for it.“
I continued, “Even if it is minimal, try to make some sacrifices (in addition to the ones I’m sure he makes already), to be able to save little by little for his goals.”
He responded quite enthusiastic about it, but still, he added that right now what he makes for a living barely covers his basic needs. I understood his position, as I’ve been there too.
“You need a lot of determination, so there must be a way you could accomplish this. You are young and single, what if you sacrifice some of your time and get a second job, that way that extra income will help you cover the rest of your basic needs and save for travel.“, I replied, among other things, as a way of brainstorming possibilities with him.
He thought about it, smiled as in approval, and the conversation ended there.
Anyways, my point is that determination and perseverance is universal. No matter where you come from or what your background is, as long as you’re determined to reach your goals, and work hard for it, in time you’ll be able to accomplish and enjoy whatever that is that you desire in life.
Hopefully, we’ll see Paul as a traveler in a not so distant future.