In her stance of agility, this lady was beyond rudimentary life planning. Surakarta of origin, with a touch of life in Jakarta, Shanghai and Singapore, Michie took her breath in Africa through a manner of spontaneous Bali trip. 2 days of consideration, 3 days of yes-no-maybe-yes and get set, and 7 days of the African truth.
There was no real excuse of why Africa among other destinations, and it was super quick. Indonesia reaching Africa consumes long hours, but she stepped on. Normally seeing Africa from television snap on her couch, she then googled about the continent with humble intention; a regular googling activity. However, last Chinese New Year gave her by chance ticket of reality. I know her in person, and when she told me “I`m leaving to Africa in a few days”. All of a sudden. I was just like “what? Serious? yeayy!”. Full stop – but at least I still replied with three words, unlike this travel agent staff in Surakarta who starred; showing freezing minutes flat face. Africa was perhaps out of range, too rare to visit or too weird for small city people like Surakarta.
But then she underwent her local strangeness and ignored people`s top-of-mind of `Africa is only forest`. Regular life was on a real dimensional eyes screen, welcome to Kenya. Despite the outer look that`s more similar to Indonesia in the 1990s, she found how positivity has surrounded the common people. A taxi driver mentioned how Kenya is the natives inhabitants` version of perfection. Proud to mingle among the country`s 44,35 million citizens, Kenya was considered the greatest ever on his measurement scale.
“The taxi driver never sees other parts of the world, so he thinks the whole Kenya is upon his life satisfaction. Interesting, he truly represents the real view. Now I understand that what they know is what they know; and everybody shows positive attitude towards everything”.
The Africans aren`t scary, at all. Perhaps it`s all about how Indonesians thought that getting into far distant place could possibly take them into more insecured situation. It`s just not. Michie found how Africans are friendly, approachable and they basically don`t mind to talk to strangers. The locals she met at Diani Beach in Mombasa were even in high initiative of selling things, despite being talkative and having persistent way of sales, they weren`t that disturbing and even their English appeared in acceptable manner. It`s just their typical behaviour which speaking in cycling process of explanation is preferred, before at the end they exemplify the real point.
Happened to posite herself mingling around local people in Chale island, Michie embodied their genuine happiness. Instead of showing an attitude of “who are you strangers? what are you doing here?”, they were obviously inundated with buoyant feeling of `welcome to my country`. Proudly and warmly in the middle of their humble real life situations. The environment prevails with nothing but cactus – far from greeneries, even to derive some water they have to collect rainwater. If rain doesn`t fall, they are urged to take water from the sea. There, it`s normal to see 2 to 3 families live under the same roof, in an empty square house made of stones and woods.
“They support living by making sour candy from baobab tree and copy the idea of clothing store to exist. Don`t think too far, their version of boutique looks more like war wreckage with less than 10 clothes hung upon simple rope. But they look happy all around. They don`t know what`s on the outside world, but they`re totally fine with their own reality”.
To those who still wander negatively on Africa, basically the continent isn`t that totally left behind. Despite certain scenery that shows more old-fashioned appearance; technology-wise, Africa is present with good quality phone sim card and even the internet access is far better than Indonesia. She also felt at home when she had lunch at a tailor-made eating place managed by a German lady who`s married to an African. Surprisingly, without a method of ordering menu, she was served with rice, fish, spicy potato and vegetable; similar to what she eats daily in Indonesia. Then when she looked at two Caucasians sitting beside her, they were served with pasta. Is it the way of their local`s culinary business to attract tourists? She wasn`t sure but it was one point to love being there.
Travelling changes the way we see the world, as Michie emphasised. This instant Africa trip has shaped her to assimilate different understanding. Normally expectations are beaten up by reality and people get dissatisfied, but Africa taught her to let reality work as its nature and throw away any expectations if we`ve never been in that place before. Don`t expect, but accept.