Wednesday, March 14, 2007

7 Did you leave your soul back in Mombasa?

An e-mail i received
Adapted from "Paradise Lost" by Prof. Yusuf Kassam*

I left Mombasa, island of raha (hapiness),
To emigrate to America, land of opportunity.

Forsook the tropical sun
For cold frigid weather.
Left behind the warm ocean breeze
For the windchill of winter.

Abandoned white pristine beaches
For brown muddy shores.
Turned away from a turquoise ocean
For polluted lakes.

Gave up mangoes, papaya, mabuyu, achari and sunflower
For processed apples, pears, peaches and cherries.
Gave up white snapper and king fish
For boxed cod and sole.

Gave up mishkaki, nyama choma mahambri and bharazi
For cereal, bagels,cheese, and salads
Gave up drinking coconut water straight from the coconut

And settled for bottled water.

Left behind the street coffee seller
For the office coffee pot.
Left behind the exotic fragrance of phapa and langi langi

For the pungent smell of sulfuric emissions.

Deprived of hearing the call to prayer
For the sound of police and fire sirens.
Deprived of seeing women clad in mysterious black buibui
For women dressed in jeans and miniskirts.

Deserted a slow relaxed pace of life
For the fast lane.
Gave up afternoon naps
For gym workouts.

Gave up riding a bicycle through the narrow streets
For driving a car on the highways.
Discontinued a course on the coral marine life
For a course in stress management.

Discarded mud and thatched dwellings
For concrete and steel.
Left behind a community-based life
For a human zoo.

It makes me wonder
If I have also left my soul behind in Mombasa?

First Picture: Narrow Alley in the post from
Dec 22
Second Picture: Chini club, near fort Jesus


munaks said...

i left my soul too back in mombasa, i miss the good old days. one fine day, one fine day

sayyeda said...

thx 4 stopping by munaks :)

zahra said...

This poem is soo true...I definately did leave my soul in mombasa...although im living in Toronto at the moment, my heart and soul keep countin the days as to when ill be goin bak to one particular spot of msa...(light house!) Mombasa - my home town..!!

Anonymous said...

lol this poem is so true. i miss the food and the weather and the lifestyle (that is not to say that i don't love it here) but mombasa has it's own sweet charm that no other place in this world will ever be able to capture.
oo btw this is Insiya - don't know how to create my identity haha

nomadicsoul said...

i think you feel that way.. with any sort of of change! no soul likes change! but with time, who knows?! 10 years on, still missing mombasa but i think i've grown to London!

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Anonymous said...


We haven't met yet, I've just come across your blog and am wondering if you could give me some advice. I saw your picture at the Mombasa Chini Club, do they have a hotel? I live in London and am travelling to Coast General Hospital in Mombasa to practice medicine there.

Any advice appreciated!