Shelina Shariff Zia: MOMBASA

Mombasa. I dreamt of Mombasa again last night.

Mombasa, just saying the name makes me remember the salty smell of the ocean. Mombasa watching the blue green Indian Ocean that stretches as far as the eye can see all the way to India. Mombasa meant swimming in the Indian Ocean at high tide, holding hands and jumping the big waves, being part of the blue green ocean; feeling the cool, salty water flow all over us as we jump the waves yet again. Mombasa.

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We went to Mombasa every April for a two week holiday. The trip I remember best is the one we took in 1972, when I was ten. Dad loaded the station wagon with Mum, Ma, Julie and us three kids. The cook would come by bus. The back was crammed with suitcases, food, toys etc. We stopped at the Sikh Gurudwaar at Mtito Endei for some tea and maybe a chapatti or two with mung dahl, we paid our respects at the temple and then we were packed back into the car.

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Later we stopped by the side of the road to see the monkeys. Hindu families believed that monkeys were a representation of the God Hanuman, so they stopped to feed them bananas and fruit. We got out of the car to see them, but you had to be careful as the monkeys could be aggressive and snatch food from you. Ma carefully fed them some fruit.

We drove through Tsavo National Park. The landscape was an endless green savannah dotted with thorn trees. We saw giraffes eating the leaves of the acacias. There would be a herd or two of zebras; elephants would roam in the distance. We kept our eyes peeled hoping to see a lion.

The next stop would be a big gas station, a couple of hours away. e sat at the picnic tables and ate our home-made roast chicken sandwiches and drank milky coffee from a thermos. Dad would fill up the tank and have the oil and water checked. Tazmin and I were sleeping on Julie’s lap having run out of songs to sing.

Read more at the source: https://www.shelinashariffzia.com/blog/2019/07/25/mombasa/

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

4 thoughts

  1. Mombasa to me means my birth town from which I was parted at an early age and therefore remains in my memory even longer. I went to nursery school there – where else but Aga Khan Nursery. We lived in the Old Twon quarter, our house overlooking the Old Harbour. The things I saw being offloaded from the dhows, on one of which my grandfather had arrived >40 years ago. My nanabapa (maternal grandfather) lived nearby and there were three married siblings of my mother and hence so many cousins. Wrenched from Mombasa it was a yearly visit by train from Kampala to visit nanabapa’s family and spend every weekend at his shamba on Bamburi. The train journey lives in my memory even more.
    Let me compose a full article and submit to this prestigious Ismaili site where I have been welcomed many times before.

    Like

  2. Mombasa to me means my birth town from which I was parted at an early age and therefore remains in my memory even longer. I went to nursery school there – where else but Aga Khan Nursery. We lived in the Old Town quarter, our house overlooking the Old Harbour. The things I saw being offloaded from the dhows, on one of which my grandfather had arrived >40 years ago. My nanabapa (maternal grandfather) lived nearby and there were three married siblings of my mother and hence so many cousins. Wrenched from Mombasa it was a yearly visit by train from Kampala to visit nanabapa’s family and spend every weekend at his shamba on Bamburi. The train journey lives in my memory even more.
    Let me compose a full article and submit to this prestigious Ismaili site where I have been welcomed many times before.

    Like

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