I grew up in Mombasa back in the 80’s and back then it was truly “Mombasa Raha” , life was simple and fun. I used to enjoy going to the beach where I could swim, build sand castles and bury myself in the sand. Other times I would just lounge on the sand while I watched the waves and caught up on my favorite story books. Mombasa being a cosmopolitan town also gave me the chance to interact and appreciate different cultures and religions not to mention the different delicacies. Back then as kids we did not know or care about each other’s tribes or even race, we were just kids having fun.
Being a coasterian meant that trips to Nairobi to visit my cousins were always a treat. Back then the Nairobi-Mombasa passenger train was still operational and in good condition. During the trip one could see wild animals while crossing the Tsavo as well as make new friends on the journey. My folks always used to book us in the first-class cabins which meant that I always had a place to lie down after playing in the corridors with my new-found friends. Being on the train was such an adventure that one didn’t notice how long it took to get to your destination. In Nairobi, I was always the center of attraction in my cousin’s estate due to coastal accent as the kids there were fascinated by it. While on the other hand I made sure to learn sheng so that I could impress my peeps back home.
Fast forward to today when adulting has literally sucked all the fun out of life. We are often too busy hustling that we don’t take time to simply fun. Fun in this case not being going out and drinking but just doing the simple things that used to make us happy. In my case, having moved to Nairobi at some point in my life means that I am not able to get back to the beach as much as I would want to. Nowadays even the trip to Mombasa is a hustle with all the packing and travelling for long hours. Also, when I get there, I usually don’t have the enough time to just chill at the beach.
Gone are the days when we interacted with people for who they were and not their race or where they come from. Nowadays, one is judged/betrayed by their last name. We have people especially after the elections who don’t relate with their neighbors since they belong to the wrong tribe. When did we stop caring for each other as simply human beings and not based on tribe?
The recently released World Happiness Index indicated that Kenya had slipped further down in the ranking. From position 112 last year to 124 in 2018 out of a total of 155 countries, this is a far cry to when we were voted as the most optimistic country in the world back in 2002 when Kibaki took office. Where did we as a country go wrong? When did we stop enjoying the little things in life? How can we reclaim our happiness?