Before I even book the ticket to Kenya I was already been injected vaccines. At this point I realised that I had to move fast and to finally book the ticket.
I wanted to go to Italy though, to one of my best friend in Turin for a quick visit and also wanted to catch up with my aunty in Rome. I found a very cheap ticket to Turin and before I could rationalise it, my adventure already started.
My aunty is my mum’ sister and also one of the most beautiful and kind people I know. When I was living in Rome she was one of my benchmark. Whatever thing I needed R. was always there for me. She is not rich and they struggle for many years with money, however she would always offer me food and make sure I was well looked after. What an amazing soul. I love her. And I really want to take advantage of this platform to express how much I am thankful to her. How much her presence in my life was/is incredibly appreciated and essential. Thank you aunty R., you rock and will always have a special place in my heart. Looking forward to see you next year :).
I was in Tiburtina station. Suddenly thousands of memories crossed my mind. I lived in Rome for just over 2 years, I was working and taking on a course in Graphic design. For one year I worked for a couple of publishing houses. Things didn’t go well. They were always late in the payments (or not paying at all) and even though I was working 16 hours a day I was always economically broke. It was time for me to leave the country. By now I just turned 22.
I took the 492 towards P.zza Fiume where my untie lives. It’s beautiful and also the centre of Rome. The eternal city! She works as a building guardian and she has a small apartment. She lives with his son, the youngest of my 3 cousins. E. should be turning 26 in a few months. He is incredibly tall and handsome. It must be in the family :P. Love him. By this time he should be graduating in physiotherapy. Best wishes to you mate! He is also a great cyclist.
E. was sleeping and my untie was already working somewhere else by the time I got to their door. I had to call my other cousin F. to help me to wake E.’s up as he wasn’t responding to me. When he opened the door and half sleepy, I shouted at him ‘Abbelloooo’, we hugged and kissed each other. It’s always a pleasure to see my little/big cousin.
I spent in Rome just a few days. I had a few walks with my untie R. and met up with my other cousin. F. is another wonderful soul. Thank you F. for all your support and love in these years. I also met with C. a family friend but also another of my life benchmark. C. had a terrible past with illness and these days he still deals with it. I don’t know how many cancers he survived and how many chemotherapy he had to face. But believe me, many. He is one of the most inspiring people I ever met in my life. Always with a smile sticked on his face. A great adventurer, a lover of mountains and nature. Also a very good photographer and cyclist. A very special and kind soul. Thanks C. for all you had to put up with me. I had great house parties with you. You always will be a great friend and a great human being.
We walked across ‘Villa Borghese’, ‘il Gianicolo’ and finally in ‘P.zza di Spagna’. We had our usual inspiring talks. We talked about the shocking Italian political situations and the social economical situation of Rome council. I missed this talks. I miss him by my side very much.
Next day I met another good friend of mine. We know each other since teenager time. Next year he should marry. I cannot believe it. Maybe he needs to have some more fun before he does that. I can read it out of his face.
Before leaving Rome I met C. one of the people I regarded as my best mate. She disappeared from my life for about 2 years. She was in a very sick relationship ( I don’t get why all my girlfriends ends up with violent men!). The guy didn’t allow her to hear from any of her friends. I was so surprised as I always regarded her as a very strong and independent woman. I was probably wrong. She was back to life a few months ago. So I met her in Rome (she used to live in London). I told her all the things I had in my guts. We were best mates and she suddenly disappear for 2 years. We talked through and I understood in which mental state she fell into. Now she is well and back to life. Fortunately.
We were drinking a beer and sitting on a bench when a guy approached us. His name was ‘Orso’ (means literally Bear). I thought he was taking the piss. Apparently his mother is a crazy soul. Orso is from my region, southern then my city, ‘salento’. It’s an incredible beautiful place that everyone should visit sooner or later. Sea, food, wonderful landscape, the music, the culture!
Anyway Orso is a weird character as he started to talk about the meaning of zodiac sign, the planets, the constellations etc etc. At first I thought he was just an homeless searching for friends. Soon after I realised that he was true to his soul in what he was telling us: ‘you are like a turtle, you think you have your home on you back but you are slow to move forward. This means that you have a home to come back to. Look at me, I am a snail, my home is always with me and move relatively fast. You need a place to come back to.(…).”
After he gave me this little piece of poetry saying: ‘when a child laugh for the first time, his laughs are gone here and there exploding in thousands of fragments. That’s how the fairies were born’
As he gave me this little poetry I went to get a beer and thought that would be nice to offer one to him too . “You see, I knew that the moment I would give you this little poetry you would come back with something in exchange, this is something that characterise gemini.” I wasn’t really follow what he was trying to tell me, or if he was trying to tell me something at all. ‘I wrote all my details on your block notes so you won’t forget about me and also my crazy mum who called me ‘Orso’, come on I know you won’t forget about me!”
When I left Orso and C., I just thought Uaho!. Not knowing if he was a great person or just a sad barker.
I was finally on the bus towards Fiumicino and got to the airport 4 hours before my flight. This is how much I was excited. In my mind thoughts were flowing. Am I doing the right thing? Am I running away? Why exactly should I hear my inner voice? The only thing I knew is that I couldn’t handle another miserable European winter. Deep in my heart I knew that listening to my inner voice was the right thing to do. Somehow it always brought me on the right path. The voice in the airport became stronger and stronger just to remind me that the big event I always dreamed about was about to happen. Now I am just waiting for the flight heading to El Cairo and then to my dreamland: Kenya.
The airport was full of human beings who carried themselves slowly and with incredible efforts. I could see they carried their worries and monsters: the trolleys. I really don’t understand the point of trolleys. It’s the nightmare of every travelers. We can’t walk through them, they occupy a lot of space and they are so noisy!. We just hope that this nightmare will soon end.
I finally got to El Cairo. A very small airport and to be the main one quite desolated .
I sat on a chair and asked to the guy next to me to keep an eye to my bag. After I came back we start to talk. Turns out that this guy is the chief director of ‘Intermediaries of Change Centre for Sustainable Development” of Jordan (translated in my mind: he is someone important). Basically he organises culture events in Jordan. And guess what, he was involved to organise the Jordan Street Art Festival. I was amazed by this coincidence. I told him I was an Italian street artist who works in UK and gave him some stickers. He was amused by my work and promised to keep in touch for next year street art festival. I will keep touch with him for sure, I have his business card!
Next meeting I have is with Sara who works for the Department of Geography in the mystery of kenya, they do infographic statistics and analyse the socio political condition of the country. She opened up with me and told me that her sister just died of sclerosis multiple. She was broke, I could see it. However I was honored that she felt comfortable enough to talk about her feelings. She was coming back from an international meeting in Rome. The same flight as mine. What a coincidence!
I just landed in Nairobi. I can’t believe it I am in Africa. Yhuhuhuhuh! I shouted inside myself. It’s happening!! Outside the airport there was Paul waiting for me with his car. Paul is a taxi driver and Shyam’s cousin. A very kind soul. We had a nice chat about Kenya and its political situation. He was a nice dude to talk to. Forty mins later, after changing five times road, (all of them where closed because of a marathon happening in a few hours) we arrived in the jungle, we arrived in Shangilia! The children’s home.