There comes a time in life when you feel that you just want a break…need a break, even if it’s from something as trivial as cold weather!
Being from Central, the slopes of mount kenya. I felt the need to complain about the dull days that the sun shows up only a few hours a day. Mt. Kenya is known to have snow caps at night but gone come sunrise. It’s always cold during the night and this pattern affects the surrounding areas.
Life here is relaxed, it’s quite common to find people sitting around a fire, enjoying roasted maize with Tea. Having worked in Nairobi the capital for several years, this sedentary lifestyle was welcome, until it wasn’t.
In developed countries, the majority of homes have some kind of heating system. Speaking for rural Kenya, that kind of a home would be a showroom! Typically, the kitchens are built apart from the rest of the house as well! when everybody’s had enough roasted maize, we prepare to meet the cold sheets and apply petroleum jelly on our faces or else!
After months of this, i decided i wasnt going to deal with the cold anymore, scowled the kenyan map and decided on the one Kenyan Coastal Town that i had never visited: Malindi
Malindi is a town on the Kenyan coast which is located in Kilifi County Around 80 miles from our famous Mombasa city. Tourism is the main economic activity in Malindi town, and Italians constitute the largest share of visitors.
The town is largely influenced by the many Italian residents, the food, the hotels, casinos and majority of the locals are fluent in Italian.
With Italy being such a famous tourist destination in the world, it’s hard to imagine that its residents long for Vacation. There is no doubt that Kenya is an extremely beautiful country. Another plus is proximity to the Equator, summer is all year. There is little variation in weather especially to newbe residents.Widely known for its wonder of the world… the wildebeest migration and it’s wonderful Safaris, this country hardly disappoints a tourist.
Prior to moving here, I wasn’t aware of the large number of Italian residents and naturally this made me curious.
Malindi’s weather is highly humid, mind you..its always warm. When the rain pours as it does occasionally, it’s usually warm. When you live here and announce that you own a pullover, or Jacket, people wonder if you are okay.
For many tourists, it’s a good place to escape the winter. So why are there so many Permanent Italian Residents in Malindi? According to the locals, the number of Italian Residents has dramatically reduced. Up until around 2016, they were flocking in opening restaurants, clubs, supermarkets selling mozzarella and home-made pasta, starting tour companies and import businesses.
Some not so good findings
After some digging, I found an article by Paul Gitau a kenyan Journalist. He exposed Italian community’s underworld of money laundering, prostitution rackets, and fugitive protection by the governvent! The Law Society of Kenya has evidence to prove that this coastal town was firmly in the grip of the Italian Mafia, Malindi is controlled by foreigners he wrote. They control the police and courts.
According to Gitau’s sources, Italian criminal networks had such an extensive influence over the corrupt judicial system that they could live and operate without fear of arrest.
“ The town is full of foreign thieves and it is very easy for anyone to come and stay here.” This reporter was getting death threats and had to go hiding. Reading some of the material excerpts about this issue as well as speaking to the locals, all i can say is that if Martin Scorsese would visit Malindi, it would be an inspiration to write another script.
Though it sounds dramatic, the town is laid back, one can hardly tell of such issues unless they stay a while and observe.
Personally, living here for months has me shocked by the shift in culture this migration has brought to the local communities. Malindi’s backbone is tourism, so much that the town is crippled by the obvious travel restrictions due to covid. Residents are keen for people to focus on its beautiful beaches and natural beauty. Its easier to ignore the influential and powerful people here with no respect for local culture.