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Weird things that take Kenyans to Mombasa

By By MKALA MWAGHESHA and TONY MALESI | Dec 16th 2013 | 7 min read


MOMBASA, KENYA: Mombasa is a holiday destination for many Kenyans. In December, the coastal town invariably teems with people because of the awesome holiday experience it offers.

It’s an open secret; Coast women smite most men who visit the region. These women, allegedly, make great girlfriends and wives. It’s believed that they are great cooks. And when it comes to the other ‘food’, they know how to serve it—they, unlike women from other parts of Kenya, allegedly undergo special training from their aunts.

Some sly women from other parts of Kenya have taken advantage of this notion, and are milking it. They pitch tent at the coast, learn the accent, acquire the mien and masquerade as ‘coast women’ and con their way into the hearts of unsuspecting men.

Njega fell in one such trap.

“Following stories and praises of how good coast women are, I once travelled down to sample and have a taste. I met a lady with whom we spend some days together and had lots of fun. I just couldn’t resist her polished Swahili that was laced with some coastal poetic twang.

“But one night, after heavy drinking, she blew her cover. She dropped her guard and spew forth honesty. She began speaking broken Swahili laced with heavy mother tongue interference. She even revealed her real name and I discovered that the ‘Mwanaisha’ she had enthusiastically used to introduce herself with was not her real name.

“However hilarious it was, I felt coned. The feeling was akin to that of a Chinese tourist visiting a far flung destination and buying a souvenir only to return home and stumble on the ‘made in china’ sticker!” narrates Njenga amid giggles.       

Matikho is a Mumias based cane farmer. Each and every time he harvested his cane crop and got paid bonuses, he always temporarily relocated to Mombasa. While there, he found the women so addictive that despite being married, he ended up marrying a second wife.  “Each time I harvested my cane, I made it a habit to promote local tourism by travelling to coast to reward my body for the hard work.

In fact, it’s coast women who made me travel all the way. Coast women are just the best. Most are soft spoken and are very good at stroking a man’s ego,” he says. Matikho adds that it was through such ritualistic escapades that he got addicted to a Taita woman, so much so that he ‘married’ her as his second wife —secretly.

“Mombasa had become my physical address that I had to ‘install’ a second wife in the town to take care of me, whenever I visit coast. She has my child, and I travel every often to the coast to see her.

When some Nairobians travel to Mombasa especially during festive season, they have a special knack for making people they leave in Nairobi green with envy. They create an impression that they are really going to have fun.

They boast about how they are going to stay in five star hotels and quaff exotic drinks; how they are going to have fun by engaging in activities such as karting, snorkeling, shopping; visiting museums, historical sites and amusement parks, only to arrive at the coast unannounced to inconvenience and subject their coast based relatives to logistical nightmares —regarding boarding arrangements.


Unwanted guests

Omari, is a victim of such Nairobians. He says his cousin who had promised to visit him ‘one day’ shocked him last December. He says his cousin, together with his wife and kid, arrived unannounced.

“My cousin surprised me. He overstayed his visit and really inconvenienced me.

They didn’t have enough cash, hence stayed indoors most of the time. My unwanted guests made me feel guilty going out —leaving them in the house— to have fun by myself.

“Never mind he kept updating his social media account about how he was in Mombasa ‘having lots of fun’. ‘ You guy, we have invaded Mombasa and the fun here is crazy’ one of his Facebook statuses read,” says Omari.   He adds that some braggarts from Nairobi travel to Mombasa, book themselves in dingy and seedy hotels but take photos of swanky places and lie —on social media — that they live there.

Recently, a tuk tuk operator was shocked when two ladies from Nairobi asked him to take them to any mganga (witchdoctor) from whom they would acquire love portions. The ladies assumed any Mombasa resident has knowledge on dark arts. The operator was totally confounded by the request.

  Look for witchdoctors

“Kwani hawa wabara wamekuja huku kutafuta  waganga, lakini hawa tushawazoea (These non-Mombasa residents travelled all the way to look for witchdoctors. Anyway, we are used to them)”, offers the operator.

Anita is a Nairobi-based logistic expert. Despite her busy schedule, she has never missed a December holiday at the Coast. She goes down the Coast in the company of her girlfriends.

“From around December 20 to January 5, I switch off my phone and immerse myself in all the luxury that comes from visiting the Coast,” says Anita.

Anita, however, has an ulterior motive, which she plans to carry out this time around.

“I won’t leave Mombasa without sleeping with a man of Arab descent. I must get a child with one of them,” she confesses, laughing naughtily as she ‘high-fives’ one of her friends seated next to her. 

On further prodding, Anita confesses she has always harboured the thought of mothering a baby with an Arabic man. And her trip this time around, she hopes, helps her get a future husband, if not, at least a ‘sperm donor’ of Arabic descent. 

Anita is not alone. Crazy things happen at the Coast, especially around this time — December, when nearly everyone has money to spend.

Maryjane Kawira, had her holiday in the Coast for the first time last year. She had been saving for the trip for two years. Her main objective was to meet a Mzungu husband, with the hope they fly abroad together. She stayed at the Coast for four weeks.

“I made sure I booked a five star hotel, where the chances of meeting a white man are high,” the single mother of two says.

“I frequently met some in the lobby and at the swimming pool. I tried my best to get their attention, including initiating a conversation and dressing provocatively. But by the third week, I was running low on money and morale. Thus, I left for a cheaper hotel,” she said.

She was unsuccessful in her attempts and blames her complexion for her futile search,

“They like women with dark complexion and slender,” she says. Relentless Kawira, however, promises to try her luck this December.

University students, too, love the Coast. Bernard Cheserem, a Fourth Year university student, together with his buddies, always organise trips to the Coast in December. Students always travel and party on a shoestring budget. Cheserem and his friends save throughout the year just to go and have a good time at the Coast during December holiday.

Drinking spree

They always hire two cheap rooms, that cost not more than Sh500. They hardly sleep in them since they are always on the move from one club to the other. Instead, the rooms are used as storage facilities for their luggage.

“My parents had requested me to join them in Nakuru, but who will take my place in sampling the wild Mombasa nightlife if I went to Nakuru?” he wonders.

Cheserem and his friends go coast for a drinking spree and women. They hired a tuk tuk and ordered the driver to drop them anywhere where they sell the best mnazi (palm wine).

“We were dropped at a mnazi joint in the middle of nowhere and within minutes, we were sipping like guys straight out of prison,” Cheserem says cheerfully.

“I think we left after endless hours of non-stop drinking, throwing up, dosing off and drinking again. We spent nearly a third of the money we had on mnazi,” he adds.

And when it comes to food, one owner of a popular eatery confessed to being tickled with people from bara. He says he always suppresses laughter because most of them make orders of foods they are probably seeing on the menu for the first time.

“I always wonder and laugh at times at people from Nairobi and bara in general.

They order for food they have no clue about. Once the food is served, the customer realises it is not what they expected, and ask for it to be taken back before making another order,” he said.

Sample food

“Watu wa Nairobi wanaujuaji mwingi ilhali hawajui lolote. Wakiingia mkahawani, utawajua tu. Wanapenda kuitisha vyakula ambavyo hawavijui, wala kuvila hawajui (people from Nairobi always have a know-it-all attitude. In a bid to sample foods that coast has to offer, they make orders of foods they have no clue about, and don’t even know how to eat them),” says Hussein, a hotel manager.    

A bouncer at a popular nightspot along the Mombasa-Malindi highway believes there ought to be measures to rein in on Nairobians.

“These people from Nairobi are very violent and overly immoral.

They start violence in short order. Here we are used to verbal combats, where people merely threaten each other. Most of the fights we stop in our club are always involving a Nairobian.

They are either fighting or having sex at the wrong place,” observes the bouncer. If they are many, they must cause a scene. Because they travel in groups, and always want their way despite being visitors.

You who like going to Mombasa to do strange things, you are not alone.

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