“Why not coconut?” has been the theme of the past few days. Why this random saying? Because we have been hanging out with the locals here and Coconut, one of the dhow captains here in Lamu, always says this. He tries to make it rhyme by pronouncing coconut: coconooot.
Last night Anna and I went to dinner at Abdul’e Eco Nest. Coconut and a bunch of locals were there with us along with a guy who is from Canada, a Peace Corps volunteer from New York, his friends visiting from Boston and a Swedish couple. Abdul is from Lamu and actually lived in the US for 11 years. After living all over the US, everywhere from Jamaica Plan outside Boston to Ohio to Albuquerque where he was a big time DJ and bartender, he came back to Kenya. He took a 6-month leave from his job, which was at a hotel at the time so that he could figure out what he wanted to do with his life. He decided, in the last week of his 6-month soul-searing escapade, that he was going to start the Eco Nest. So he built it and it was finished about six months ago. The nest is outside the Old Lamu Tow. Walking there in the dark is like wading through the soccer stadium in Nairobi which is packed with people – you cannot see more than an inch in front of you but here you can’t see because the night is truly pitch black.
Straw mats in sand, a few lanterns scattered around, “Rasta” Damien Marley music playing from an ipod speaker, wooden huts on stilts all around us and plates filled with fresh Swahili food. The dinner was fabulous: calamari and shrimp curry, grilled Tuna, coconut rice and fresh vegetables all fell together.
Laughter. Stories. About deaf children on the coast of Kenya from a peace corps volunteer. About tuna fishing from Coconut. About the problems with drunk driving in New Mexico from Abdul. About Boston University from the recent graduate who loved the school but hates how much money they spend each year n giving their school a “face lift.” About the terrorist who bombed the US embassy in 1998 and lived in Lamu for many years before doing so. About the non-chalant attitude of Canadian police from Sequoia, 25-year old who came to Lamu planning on staying for a few days and has now been here a month. About a Kenyan wedding with 800 guests from a Swedish couple who is staying in the Eco Next. Another night in Lamu.