On my second day in Kenya I walked to a grocery store called Nakumatt Express. It was an hour walk in each direction along the Thika Highway. It was dusty, colorful, hot, and exotic. I passed women in their Sunday best, families of 4 on a single motor-scooter, honking matatus, the local ‘buses’, vans really, over-packed with passengers who hung out open doors. I passed small home-made stands selling old stuffed animals, shoes, eggs, with the chickens in cages right behind the eggs, used tires, and colorful plastic buckets for hand-washing. I had no directions, no map, just the instructions ‘walk down the road and turn left.’
There is a phenomenon, a feeling, when you are heading into the unknown, going somewhere new with no knowledge, where time stretches and feels like an eternity. My hour long walk felt like an eternity. Everyone was staring at me. I was out of place. I had no idea where I was going. People avoided making eye contact. My senses were heightened as I took in a wild world where nothing was familiar.
The walk home, though the same length, felt different, easier, as I passed the known on the return trip. When I arrived home three hours later (I was very slow in the small store), sweating from the heaviness of the backpack full of supplies on my back and the two grocery bags that started light but became instruments of torture, I felt accomplished and proud.
Guess what? I love butter. There are very few things that cannot be made better without adding a little butter. Look what I found at the Nakumatt, the Kenyan grocery store. GIANT BUTTER.