by Mitchelle Mulemi
It’s one year now since I left Kenya to pursue my dream of getting a Masters degree and the chance to travel around Europe to my hearts content. I am fortunate to have chosen the Erasmus Mundus program in Media and Journalism which gave me the opportunity to experience life in two different countries, Denmark and Germany. This was my first time far away from my beloved country Kenya, and I had no idea what to expect…
Adjusting to the weather and way of life in Europe was not easy. I suffered extreme anxiety, and disorientation, as my body was fighting my brain’s commands to adjust to the abrupt weather variations from the warm temperatures in Nairobi, to most freezing Danish winters (I honestly thought my blood would literally freeze). I often wondered how on earth could such a place be habitable, but then again the Europeans or Danes would know best!
I was also homesick, and missed my family and the sun. On the bright side, I find myself adjusting, and some how finding my balance. But still I long for the familiar, especially Kenyan food.
I had the chance to finally experience Africa in Hamburg at the annual Africa festival held this August in Altona. I was pleasantly surprised to see food stalls, jewelry and a variety of cultural items most of which were hand made from different countries like Kenya, Niger, Benin, Ghana, Eritrea and Togo, all in one place.
It was indeed a memorable experience for me, listening to an African band play popular songs of the continent like “Malaika” and a chance to taste the delicious food brought both feelings of nostalgia and joy. There was a vibe of carefree, happy people at the festival, this made me feel relaxed as well as proud that Africa my continent was being celebrated.I was excited to see the African products on display like head gears, Masai sandals, accessories, and clothes. I could not resist buying a few items for myself, and some presents for my friends.
I also jumped at the chance to have a conversation in Kiswahili with one of the participants from Kenya. If you have traveled far away from your homeland, one of the things you also miss is speaking your (native) language.My favorite part of the festival was the African cuisine. I tantalized my taste buds with yummy West African delicacies like tilapia, Fufu, and plantain, some of which I had never tried before.
After experiencing the African festival, I now know that even though I might be so far away, I can always experience a little piece of home and share it with the wonderful people I have met. There is a lot to look forward to in Hamburg. I am confident this is going to be the most exciting year and stay!