Thursday, November 19, 2009


"Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow." ~Henry David Thoreau

For anyone who follows this blog, you can typically guess that I enjoy a good walk around town, even if it's rather hot.
So I got to thinking about my perception of things from my pedestrian point of view.

When you walk you get a different perspective on things than when, say, you drive (or fly in the case of superman).
When you drive somewhere, or in my case take a matatu or taxi or occasionally a bus, you drive quickly and may not really have a chance to stop and enjoy the smell of the flowers. Or stop for a few minutes and look at the beauty of the animals which, even if you see them everyday you never step in the same river twice. When you drive (etc) you don't have a chance to stop for a chat and drink chai with a member of your community that you haven't met yet.

When walking you get a different perspective. For example, when walking I have a specific idea of how to get from point A to point B. If I try to give directions to someone who is driving I might not be able to provide accurate information. On foot, one can easily find a way between buildings and down small side paths etc. On the other hand, typically cars or matatus will not be able to travel through.
I was just thinking about a time when a friend of mine back in the US who is also used to walking everywhere was trying to explain to me how to get somewhere and she didn't realize at first that since I was traveling by car I would not be able to follow the path as she was describing.

Of course, by walking everywhere I also run into people begging and wanting to get something from the "rich foreigner" but in general I tend to make new friends and make new acquaintances and meet new people, share ideas, talk about the differences between the US and Kenya (and the lack of difference in the weather - "no Garissa is not hot, i'm used to the heat" please stop asking :D).

At any rate, walking every where leads to a change of perception. You slow down to appreciate life. You slow down to see and hear and feel a new aspect of life. Walking can also lead to a healthy exercise filled life which can in turn lead to loosing some 80+ lbs of weight :)

1 comment:

  1. Ahh yes.. eventually even I got tired of people asking me " Wewe.. Uko njoto,silyo?".. Eventually, I just ended up answering " Iko Nafasi" ("it's the same").

    Walking was a real way to learn what the life of a small community is like. I used to do it often, even if I really didn't need to walk around Marsabit to buy fruit and peppers at a Duka. Since I didn't wear a cross, people often mistook me for a tourist as opposed to a missionary, and it took a while to convince them I was not (Speaking their language helped).