|Title:||back in africa|
|Location:||nairobi, kenya (1746m)|
|Text:||53 194 kilometres on the road
goodbye mom, goodbye fabio, goodbye sebastian and nathalie, bye detlef, christoph and bye-bye all my friends in switzerland!
my last week in zurich passed in a rush and before i knew it i woke up friday morning, hang-over from endless days of farewell parties and last preparations, but happy and eager to leave.
we took off in time and a feeling of relief and joy overcame me as i saw zurich disappearing under the wings of the airplane. a broad smile spread from one ear to the other: i was going back to africa.
it's amazing how quickly the human body recovers from injuries… just two months ago i had been on that same flight, just the other way round, in pain, with broken bones and unable to walk; it's fantastic!
i declined the airline's breakfast; i had previously treated myself to one last real swiss breakfast, with dark heavy bread, wonderfully smelly cheese, salamis, tea and freshly pressed fruit juice. when it comes to food there is no place like home… whatever home means.
my neighbour, in the seat next to me, certainly knows what home meant to him: as a kenyan un dioplomat, living in new york, he uses every opportunity to return to his parents' village in north-western kenya. he's excited to see his home country again and tells me in detail about all the presents he's carrying.
i open my newspaper, probably the last quality newspaper for a long time, and try to read. but i can't concentrate. my thoughts always stray away from the ink on the paper and the photographs turn into visions of me lying on a stony gravel road. what amazes me in retrospect is the amount of positive energy i had been able to produce back then.
all the way from the scene of the accident to the local hospital and on to the hotel in gondar, until arriving at the university hospital in zurich, i had been full of good humour, joking and laughing with everybody. i never complained about my misfortune and when people asked me if i cursed the bike for the accident i used to reply that it was me who'd have to apologize to the bike, as it was clearly me who was responsible.
but after being released from the hospital and after the initial joy of meeting my friends again, i started to drift into a limbo of boredom and dullness. i would wake up in the mornings and not do anything for a long time, just lie there, feeling dumb and numb.
there i was, with nothing to do, no job, not able to work anyways, simply feeling useless. the worst period was after i started to walk again. although i was making fast progress i always felt a lot of pain where the bones had been broken and i sometimes believed that i would never be able to walk freely again, that i would always limb. i was no longer patient and the few weeks to my return seemed endless.
i'd look out of the window and see my beautiful hometown, knowing that it was beautiful but unable to appreciate it. good food didn’t have much taste and i realized that i was drinking wine, not for its quality but rather for the effects. i was unhappy about myself being unhappy, unable to break the vicious circle.
then, during the last days before leaving, i started to become more confident again. i started to simply disregard the stiffness in my hips and the pain that usually developed after walking for a while. i tried to say goodbye to all of my friends and spent a last dinner with my brother sebastian and his girlfriend nathalie. i had been living at their flat and they had been great hosts!
i was set and ready, and this morning, when i woke up, the sun was shining at my smiling face despite the fact that i got up long before sunrise on a cold, cloudy spring-day in zurich.
we landed in nairobi well behind schedule and it took me another hour to get through immigration. i didn't mind, that's africa! i picked up my two heavy bags which were stuffed with spare parts for my bike, as well, as parts and tools for my friend chris in nairobi. i felt like father christmas with a huge bag full of long-awaited presents…
…and chris waited for me in the airport's arrival hall, smiling just like the child who'd been waiting for the generous saint in antici-p-p-pation.
saturday morning i awoke to the singing of onehundredandtwentythree tropical birds who quite obviously welcomed me back to kenya. i am back. i can hardly believe it!