Hakuna Matata: Part Four

DenaOctober 13, 2011

Back at the Resort

Early on we were warned about the “beach boys.” They were young Kenyan men that would troll the beach outside of the resort, selling their Kenyan goods — paintings, sea shells, bracelets. At low tide they would offer to take you out into the sea to explore the ocean life.

Despite the warnings, I decided to head out to the beach boys at low tide for a tour. The first beach boy that approached me was Allan. He had skin the color of milk chocolate and the voice of an angel. He held my hand and walked me out over the sand and coral. He pointed out the sea creatures and named each one to me. He held up giant sea anemones in every color imaginable. He plucked a pregnant starfish from the water, the brightest purple I’d ever seen and the size of a basketball! It was extraordinary.

As we headed back to shore, he asked if I would meet him at sunset. He wanted to bring me a gift of sea shells. I said that I would, then struggled with the idea for the rest of the day. I had been warned about the beach boys already. Was it risky, dangerous? When the sun began to set, I decided to skip dinner and made my way to the beach. Sure enough, Allan was there with the most beautiful sea shells in hand. He asked me to walk along the shore with him. It could have been the worst decision of my life, but it was one of the best. We walked along the shore and he pointed to all of the mansions on the cliffs, explaining the important persons that lived in each one.

We finally came to an impassable cliff and stopped to rest. Allan had small twigs in each of his ears where earrings should have been. I asked him why and he explained that he’d had family issues at one time and had to sell the earrings from his ears. I took the cubic zirconium studs from my own ears and placed them in his hands. He expressed a gratitude of which I’d never felt before. I can not explain that feeling in words. The kindness of strangers.

After that we walked back to the resort. I gave Allan my address but I never did hear from him again. A beautiful memory of a beautiful friend that I will carry in my heart always.

Lesson 7: Sometimes it is necessary to stray off the beaten path. Others may warn you against adventure, but you’ve got to follow your gut. Some risks are worth it.

The Invaluable Lesson

I came so close to missing out on my trip to Africa. I could have easily let my circumstances prevent me from going; but I went. When life presents opportunities to you, you have to grab them. My experience in Kenya is one of the great highlights of my life thus far. I carry the memories in my spirit always. I will never regret taking that chance; but if I would have let fear control me, I would have regretted it forever.

Take risks. Go on adventures. Seize every opportunity as it is presented to you. In Kenya, the people speak a gorgeous language called Swahili. Their most favorite phrase is, “Hakuna Matata.” It means, “No Worries.” The Kenyan people spoke that phrase to me over and over. And that is Lesson 8, the most important lesson: Hakuna Matata! Stop worrying and start living! You will never regret it. I didn’t.

This is Part 4 of a 4-part series that I’ve been sharing about my trip to Kenya, Africa. Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here. Read Part 3 here.

Comments (3)

  • Lou Mello

    October 14, 2011 at 11:35 am

    You sure had me worried a bit as I started reading part 4, we have had a few bad experiences in the Islands from straying off the beaten path. You were fortunate in this case that it turned out so well. Having said that, though, it is still best to try to live life with Hakuna Matata, it is just a better way to live our lives.

  • Kristin

    October 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    This was so touching and wonderful. I wouldn’t be surprised if those stud earrings have changed hands several times by now… they might have more stories to tell than you do!

  • roberta

    March 9, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    wow i love reading your stories dena….you should of been a writer…you put your words into such an adventure to read….this was so exciting i felt like i was there with you…as it also gives me strength to think …if you can do it why cant i….its so true sometimes we have to push ourselves to do things we fear…which for me are many even little things…….you sure made an impression on me….i inspire to be like you….

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