Lullin’ in Lamu

After getting back to Nairobi on the 2nd of December, we stayed up till 3am to pick up our newcomer – Paul Difesa, from the airport on the 3rd of December. We then spent that day touring Kibera, having lunch at Java and packing up for our next part of the trip – Lamu and Tanzania.

At 10pm we set off on our next long trip – 8 hrs bus ride to Lamu. This time we were joined by Marlene, our dear friend volunteering in Kibera. We hopped off the bus at Mombasa only to take a shuttle from Malindi, and then took the 11am flight to Lamu, only 25 mins away by air.

Our next 4 days were spent relaxing, enjoying the unique cultural experience that is Lamu. The chalk-white beach of Shela, the amazing swahili seafood, watching sunset on the floating bar near Manda island, spending the night under the stars, swimming at night with the phosphorescing green sea all around. You get the picture – a simply breathtaking relaxing time with friends. Our accomodation was great value for money – for 11 euros a night we had a great place 2 minutes walk from Lamu fort, a good filling breakfast and great service. The place was Wildebeest, a place recommended on Lonely Planet, and rightly so. Although the place has a slightly shabby look, to our eyes it just added to the whole charm of it.

Lamu in Twilight

One sad touch to this experience was that we visited Lamu at its peak. Next year, the Kenyan government is building a major port on Manda island. Undoubedtly, this major development will ruin the corals, clean beaches and the whole isolation of the place, which is why it is a tourist attraction. To add an extra nail in an already sealed coffing, oil has been discovered to the north of Lamu. Drilling will begin in a few years. And as anyone who isn’t naive knows, oil brings death, destruction and environmental devastation to pristine areas. Lamu will be no more. The culture will die. All in the name of progress and the almighty dollar.

In other worse, I count myself to be extremely lucky to have experienced Lamu prior to its decline and death, which are inevitable. And the worst part is that the people of Lamu are protesting, but no one is listening to any of their calls. People are too busy listening to the clinking sound of money in pockets in the high places of Nairobi.

Another example of greed over humanity. Lamu, you will be sorely missed. My photos of you will hopefully be the last testament of your beauty. A static memory of a soon-to-be devastated cesspool of oil refuse and dead coral, and struggling mangrove.


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