21 January

To practice the joy in doing rather than the joy in finishing yesterday, as my internet connection froze and continued to spin and spin, saying ‘Connecting . . . Connecting . . . Connecting . . . ’, a lie really, because it was ‘NOT Connecting . . . NOT Connecting . . . NOT Connecting . . .’, I locked my office door with my skeleton key and walked across campus to the Shopping Center, to KU Shop 6, where I purchased an East African favorite, a piece of Kenyan flat bread called chapati for the first time. I had seen the students do this, but I had never dared.

Summoning ease and courage, I ordered in Kiswahili. Why not? ‘Chapati moja, tafadhali, na chupa ya maji.’ I had rehearsed and planned my order as I walked over. ‘One chapati, please, and a bottle of water.’ The shop was crowded, and people entered after me, jostling in the tiny area outside the window where you order, and ordered before me. My politeness kept me waiting. The clerk, viewed through iron bars, caught my eye, and I ordered in Kiswahili.

He put a plastic bag on his hand, lifted a lid off what I would describe as a crockpot, and removed a piece of chapati, which he folded into quarters and handed me in the plastic bag. The heavy bread was warm. The cost for the bread was 15 shillings, like paying a quarter.

I ate the bread in my office. It reminded me of an Indian bread, only heavier, and with no sauce or anything to dip it in, eating it plain was jarring at first. It was heavy and chewy. And it was tasty, it was good, and with each bite, I liked it more. Yum.


Chapati nzuri sana. Chapati is very good.

It is very good indeed. I will be a fan for life, in a way I will never be a fan of a slow internet connection.

This entry was published on January 21, 2014 at 10:11 am. It’s filed under Culture, Food, People and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.


  1. I had no idea seeing things I see everyday from a different perspective could be so interesting. Keep writing of your experiences; I enjoy your stories immensely.

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