Tag: Culture

saturday shenanigans six

Some pairings just have the perfect balance. Peanut butter – jam, blue jeans – white shirt, and art galleries – coffee shops.

Nothing profound in today’s post, I just happened to have a lovely Saturday with my friend Magy last week.

 

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We started off the day searching for old film cameras, sauntered over to Sno Cream (where I had enough ice cream for three *burp*), then to Uhuru Park where we walked around and got on these tiny boats for fun.

It was my first time experiencing this characteristically Nairobian weekend activity, and it made me realize how unfit I’ve become since I finished Uni. I’d made it a habit to jog every evening after classes, and now thirty minutes of leisurely paddling seemed to be torturous for my knees! I loved how relaxed the park was, Magy mentioned we came on the right day because it is flocked by church-goers on Sundays and larger masses during public holidays. A cacophony of sound, smell and colour – vendors in white coats asking you to buy ice cream, photographers encroaching into your personal space with cameras and albums, horses and camels walking around with their handlers. In one corner, there was even an inflated pool for children to swim in.

We still had some time to kill so we decided to learn a few things about history and culture at the Nairobi Art Gallery, which is right opposite the park. It sits in the old PC’s office, a lovely colonial building complete with oval skylights and a coffee shop outside. Joseph Murumbi’s collection of African art forms a majority (if not all) of the exhibition, with a separate room for other artists to display their work for sale.

Magy had to leave for football practice after so naturally, I decided to stay behind, read some poetry and have some iced coffee *grin*. Anyone know similar places I could go participate in anti-social behaviour, have a coffee and read my book in peace? *covers face* I’ve got nothing interesting planned out for this weekend, I might get some new books though 🙂

PS. Art gallery ticket stubs make for perfect book marks.

genius loci

“The spaces where life occurs are places…A place is a space which has a distinct character. Since ancient times the genius loci, or spirit of place, has been recognized as the concrete reality man has to face and come to terms with in his daily life. Architecture means to visualize the genius loci and the task of the architect is to create meaningful places, whereby he helps man to dwell.”

Christian Norberg-Schulz.

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Can one add ‘day dreaming’ to their list of skills on a CV? Because I think I am a professional at it. Just as I’ve noted ‘Professional wanderluster’ on my Instagram bio, I have a penchant (and utmost urgency) for wanting to see the world – as I’m sure we all do. I always manage to find myself on Louis’ and Raya’s YouTube channels on a daily basis to get my much needed dose of inspiration, in hopes that my subconscious will work in my favour and attract more travel in my life. That, and an added bonus of good vibes through my day (which almost always ultimately takes me back to the daydreaming).

Sounds crazy, but have you ever been so immersed in a place or experience that your soul identifies a certain feeling with the place? Nostalgia becomes a different emotion every time if you’re as sensitive as I am to these things. Today I found myself missing how I feel when I’m at The African Heritage House (read the first post here). It’s more than just a house/ museum, but an experience of it’s own. What comes to mind is this book we were made to read for a certain unit in my third year of architecture school, “Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture”, where the author Christian Norberg-Schulz describes the concept of ‘spirit of place’ or genius loci. Some places can be described to have a strong spirit of place, and this is one of those spaces for me.

I was last there on the afternoon of New Year’s eve, with the intention of starting my new year on a rich note, dismissing the ordinary coffee shop experience (saving it for countdown a few hours later). It was my second visit to the house in the year 2016, and I’m sure I will be a regular in 2017 – perhaps even have lunch or dinner there one of these days. The tour is always a new experience because there’s so much detail you’d always find yourself picking up on something new. It was all the more charming with the delicately themed Christmas decorations, and I guess I was more present and therefore emotionally attached because of the new year clocking in just a few hours. Or maybe because it hits me more every single time that I am surrounded by art from all over the world, I can feel the richness, the presence of history.

There is something about resilience that I find so attractive. In people, things, culture, history. Because these things transcend time and serve a larger purpose. Knowing the history behind this house makes it earn my respect even more each time I go.

Putting up this post is a way of following through with my energy and ambition from 27 days ago. 27 days ago. Can you imagine January is already coming to an end? I hope you have managed to follow through on your goals, I’m trying my best over here 🙂

Let’s keep chasing our dreams, yes?

The African Heritage House

Location: Google Maps link opens in separate tab.
1000 Ksh. for a house tour (accommodation available on inquiry).
More information on their website here.

PS. How great is it that my first article about the house was shared on their website? Scroll to the bottom of the page, just fantastic 🙂 🙂

saturday shenanigans two

1ah2ah3ah4This post came up a little late for my ‘Saturday Shenanigans’ series but hey, it’s a BIG improvement from how irregular my posts used to be yes?
(Shameless plug: You can read the first post here).

I first heard about The African Heritage House through an instameet I regretted having missed thanks to so many amazing pictures my favourite Instagrammers posted shortly after. It would have been the perfect occasion to go, because after that it just seemed too far a place to visit. Like I’d have to go out of my way, to MLOLONGO. But once you’ve been working in Syokimau for a month, that’s home base. It’s basically all Machakos county past the airport. And trust me, the trip is WELL WORTH IT.

I visited the house this past Saturday, and it took me about twenty minutes to get there on matatu from South C, and about ten minutes to walk to the house. I haven’t factored in the ten minutes I strayed onto the stunning neighbouring property only to realize I was in the wrong compound!

If you’re using public transport, alight at Solomon Primary School and cross the road. You will see a signboard that reads ‘Alan Donovan’. The house is about 300 metres along this path. I’ve linked the Google Earth pin here for your reference.

I went with my little brother and my friend Magy and we decided to get a tour for 1000 Ksh. per person (inclusive of a beverage of your choice). Our guide’s name was Femi, and he walked us around while playing, on radio, an audio recording in Alan’s voice describing the history and design of the house-museum . I highly recommend this to anyone who goes, the history is just as endearing as the house itself.

You can spend the night at the museum if you wish, but they also serve meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinners on the rooftop or at the pool house). I hope you enjoy the pictures more than my writing! I’m trying something new with the layout of my pictures. I draw inspiration from many sources but my greatest influence has to be Alice Gao (she is hands down my favourite blogger and photographer) and I aspire to tell stories through my pictures like she does! This particular post seems a little ‘busy’ so it could probably change in the next few days.

Toodles! (Remember when this word was a ‘thing’ because of a lady presenter on KTN? I forget her name, I was probably 12 :-D)