I am rarely rendered speechless! But Peter Mabeo's words had that effect on me. First, he was kind enough to read my article about him and write to me about it. Then he was very generous with his praise of my paintings, so much so that I vowed to remember his words for life. I wrote back and told him that whatever he said must be true because, he is after all, Peter Mabeo.
Peter's work is very good as I told you before, but it is his way of being that fascinates me. With all he has achieved, he is still so full of soul and warmth. Success has not stifled him like it does to so many others who become cold, distant or condescending as they acquire class and status. Not Peter. He is like your old classmate who can still laugh and joke and remind you to dream. That is what makes him great; and I want to be exactly like that!
But, when I am not in awe of this Peter person, I am mersmerised by how the Matswana (plural for Botswanan?) in general, are really nice people. So, maybe Peter is not so special, it is probably just a Botswana trait. Either way, I will remember the generosity of all the people I met in Gabarone, Botswana for a long time to come.
If you stick with me just for a little while longer I will again try and compare Kenya to Botswana. Last time I said nasty things about Kenya and I take it all back. Kenya is really not that bad and Kenyans (when they are not trying to con you) are exceptional. I say this with confidence because I have had the priviledge of meeting so many people from all over the world. I have been to Rome, Rio (sigh), Helsinki, Gabarone and now I live in South Africa and I assure you, Kenyans are definitely a cut above the rest.
I mean, these Kenyan people of mine, can, with their eyes closed, do the work of 10 other people from any one of these other places I have just mentioned. You must believe this! Take for example my mother, who saw six kids all the way to university on a meagre accountant's salary and, kindly note that nothing is for free in Kenya. All other Kenyans I know, work equally hard and the service you get in Kenya is stellar. With all my love for the Matswana I must admit that, in comparison, the service at the hotels and restaurants and shops in Gaborone truly sucks! Luckily they make up for it with smiles and free wifi.
So, take it from me, a lucky Kenyan who gets to travel around a bit: Kenyans are born ready; they hit the ground running and they work their asses off like no one else I know (Except maybe the Nigerians!) But hey, that does not stop Peter Mabeo, the Matswana, the adorable Brazilians, my newly adopted South Africans, the Finnish or any one else on earth from being a star.
Labels: Botswana vs Kenya, Kenya's image, Peter Mabeo