Lovely Lamu…
Extended Vacay or Lockdown?

#2 | Letters From Lamu

4|28|2020

Author &
Photographer

Tiffanie Anderson

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KENYA
LETTERS FROM LAMU
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If the world came to a standstill and we were required to sit still, one thing was for sure, both Away to Africa and I would leave out of this worldly isolation in a better state than we started. Click To Tweet 

Extended Vacay or Lockdown?

On my flight returning to Lamu I noticed a beautiful Black woman carrying flowers. I found it quite interesting that a woman would carry flowers to someone she was flying to meet. Perhaps a small representation of an undefined definition of unconditional love, no boundaries nor expectations.

In Lamu I prefer to lodge on Shela island as opposed to Lamu Town as Shela is less busy. I made plans to stay at a fairly affordable hotel in Shela. However, a friend convinced me to try his friend’s accommodation in Lamu for a very affordable price. I spoke with the owner who agreed to pick me up from the airport and take me to his accommodation in Lamu Town.

Lamu’s Donkey Dilemma: Less Pollution more shit to avoid stepping in

Just in case you didn’t read our initial Blog ‘Exploring Lamu and Diani Beach ’ where we detail the makeup of Lamu, Lamu is an archipelago composed of small islands and taking a boat, riding a donkey or motorbike are the main modes of transportation. There are no cars in Lamu town nor Shela. Less pollution to breathe in, more donkey shit to avoid stepping in.

As the accommodation owner and I set foot onto Lamu Town he turns to me and nonchalantly says ‘Oh yeah my place is booked so I am placing you in a different place.’ I stared flabbergasted. I immediately asked him why he failed to tell me this when we spoke on the phone, greeted me at the airport or even on the ten minute boat ride from the airport to Lamu Town. He said he was sorry but his friend’s place was nice. Although his friend’s place was in fact nice, I made the decision to move back to Shela the next day.

The initial idea was for me to lodge in Shela for a few days before embarking to Madagascar.A Sistren referred me to ‘Island Hotel’. For a mere $20usd/night this rustic, boutique hotel offered a private space with a downstairs bedroom and bathroom and a rooftop space with the perfect breeze and hammock. The apartment was home to four traditional styled beds that reminded me of Zanzibar and one queen sized bed with a mosquito net.

A surprise encounter with Lamu Island’s wildlife

I loved everything about this quaint place with the exception of two things. No hot water (although you don’t really need hot water in Lamu’s heat). Also, early one morning I went on the roof to swing on the hammock and watch the sunrise. I suddenly began hearing a noise which I assumed was a cat. After a few minutes a monkey appeared, staring me dead in the eye before jumping on the table to quickly check my bag for food. I couldn’t even scream, instead I reached for my phone to record and nervously ended up calling a friend instead. After I was able to mutter a couple of words, the monkey disappeared sooner than he appeared.

This was my first but definitely not my last encounter with this full, grown monkey as he reappeared late night IN MY ROOM looking for a mango to steal. I actually found remnants of an eaten mango on the rooftop which was an intentional doing on behalf of my new ‘friend’.

As the virus continued to spread and flights were cancelled, I decided I needed to make a decision if Lamu would be my home for an indefinite amount of time. One thing was for sure, I was definitely remaining in Africa.

Black Husbands & Sailing through Lamu, Kenya

After creating a two month budget, I sealed my decision to stay in Lamu and found another flat with a beautiful terrace housing a bed overlooking the ocean. Similar to other homes throughout Lamu, this apartment had one too many beds which could house a family of six. Many days and early evenings I would position the fan on myself and watch boats as it made its runs to Lamu Town, thé airport and Manda. On any given Sunday you can find many taking their 5:00pm sail throughout the mangroves.

One day I was having lunch with a friend who briefly introduced me to one of the most kindest Ras on the island. He invited me on a dhow sail around the island with his girlfriend and I politely declined. Upon their return from their sail I was delighted to learn that his girlfriend was the same young lady I saw boarding the plane with flowers. We quickly became great acquaintances. We spent many days sharing glasses of wine, dancing to South African music, laughing and exchanging stories for our appreciation of Black Men and the African continent.

As countries continued closing borders for an infinite period, I made a to do list of all of the items I wanted to complete prior to leaving Lamu. If the world came to a standstill and we were required to sit still, one thing was for sure, both Away to Africa and I would leave out of this worldly isolation in a better state than we started.

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