Hidden somewhere amidst the reverie of the coast of the Indian Ocean, Old Town is a rich blend of cultural heritage and classic Arabic architecture. Several ancient cultures had worked together to build the town that we now beheld, each building being unique in some aspects from the others. We barely recognised some building styles as Arabic but there were many more before us that left us in spectacle. It was almost as though these buildings spoke to us in a new language explicitly different from what we were used to, and we were enraptured by the diversity of it all. This was truly a sight to behold.
The town is a maze of narrow winding streets, almost as complex as the heart. We would have been lost in this web of ancient grandeur had we lacked the guidance of our tour guide, Musa. The walk through old town was filled with occasional stop overs at the various shops that exhibited immense cultural heritage and the amalgamation of this with various talents. Some of these included a craft shop, and a grocery shop that had a small section for all the exotic spices that give the food in Mombasa a never-ending bliss of delightful taste.
As one walks through the town, it is hard to ignore the various cultures that sit in this place, living in harmony like they were all cut from the same cloth. Despite all the stark differences in the origin of everything around us, we could sense that the town also echoed a strong sense of unity. We could see a distinct oneness that encompassed all the diversity into one state of being. We could see it in the way in the way that these people of so many ethnicities treated each other, with respect and dignity. Old men sat around in circles sharing tales and cigarettes, and the children played together as one tribe. We could hear it even clearer in the language that the people around us spoke; Swahili-the love child of all the cultures around us.
All these different observations gave us the satisfaction of knowing that the rumours about Mombasa were indeed true; these rumours being those that described Mombasa as a cultural melting pot. This belief is further reinforced by the solidarity of this community that comprises of people of different history and heritage, and seeing this all come together is fulfilling.
Join us in our next adventure as we discover the stories behind Bombolulu workshop, a place that gives us new hope in humanity.