Lamu

(*Preface – I write this with my deepest condolences to the family and friends affected by the recent tragedy in Lamu.)

*****

As our plane descends onto the dirt runaway and we exit, I first notice how small this airport is. A few dozen people are scattered about as a group’s luggage is loaded onto a cart that I would normally associate with pulling hay. We follow a path to the water, and meet our guide who loads us into tiny boats, and head up the Indian ocean channel, destination the Kipungani resort in Lamu, Africa.

Large puffy clouds, like cotton candy at a State Fair, suspend lazily in the crystal clear blue sky as we head up the channel. A forest of mangrove trees cover the bank on both sides, occasionally opening up enough to see an old ship being repaired on the beach, or where a small village resides. Fisherman pass us, waving and smiling as only African people can. It is a surreal scene of magical beauty.

As the boat slows down and heads toward the shore, I see banda’s along the shoreline. I think to myself, surely this can not be where we are staying….

Our banda that my brother and I stayed in while in Lamu.

We are greeted by the staff as we exit the boats and walk up the beach. I find myself instantly going into relax mode, all my body aches and pains dissolving, all stress and worry melting away as we sip our coconut drinks.

We have full course meals, excellently prepared. Strong drinks are available at the bar if that is your thing. Massages in your banda, ( which I take full advantage of) a pool to relax in, and of course the ocean is only a few steps away.

Time seems to stop here in this paradise, as we sleep when we want, read, play and just unwind.

Evening comes, and to our surprise, a sunset sail is on the agenda. The old wooden ship’s charm is palpable. I feel as though I’ve been transported to another time, a simpler time. As we are sailing, one of the crew tells the story about how he was captured by Somali pirates, and imprisoned for four years. You can feel the pain in his story, but also see his resiliency in his face. After his story, he breaks out in song as the sun goes down, singing ” Jambo, Jambo bwana. Hbari Gani. Mzuri sana….”
We all know this song, and sing loudly in the night air.

As it is time to go to bed, I find myself wanting to sleep outside, like I did when I was a child. I read until my eyelids shut, and dream of this paradise called Lamu.

The next day, my brother goes for an early walk along the ocean, to reflect on his time here in Africa. I couldn’t feel closer nor more proud of him. We all play games together, laugh and tell stories, bond and make lasting friendships, even though we know that most of us will not see each other again after this adventure is over.  It is of little consequence though.

      I think of how lucky I am for this experience, and of the people I shared it with.
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5 Comments

  1. That hut would be so cool to sleep in! Your words and pictures as always present a little slice of paradise. Sad to hear about recent events in Lamu.

  2. It looks so beautiful there. I love you stills video as always.

    I think most people are very fearful for the safety now of Judith Tebbutt.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?