Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



A Child of Yesterday: My Childhood in Kenya

Rhona Lewis

You’ve already read about the Nairobi Elephant Nursery. Did you wonder if children growing up in Kenya cuddle elephants all day long? Well, I grew up in Kenya and I can assure you that this was not the case. Like children all over the world, I spent most of my days at school. Outside of school, I loved swimming, hiking, and camping. And get ready for this … I never worried about buying the prettiest stationary or the cutest earrings because there were no fancy shops in Kenya!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Unlike most of my friends, who lived in large homes, we lived in a small semi-detached house with a tiny garden — my parents always said that we would move into a bigger home when we got to Israel! Everyone had servants: houseboys to clean the house, cooks, gardeners, drivers, security guards and nannies called ayas.

Today there are plenty of shopping malls in Nairobi, but when I was a child, there were no fancy stores. My grandmother used to buy most of our clothes and shoes in England and bring them to us on her annual visit. Luckily, she had great taste and a lot of siyata d’Shmaya: I always loved the things she brought me and they usually fit. Sometimes, I went shopping with my mother, but there wasn’t much to buy. My greatest “find” was a children’s clothing store. There, I bought a boy’s bow tie on an elastic cord and I used it to tie up my hair.

There wasn’t much nosh available, so one of our favorite treats was sugar cane. We’d first play with the piece of cane, which could be as long as three meters, and then we’d chop it up, peel it, and chew on the woody pulp till it got dry and tasteless.

One thing that Kenya always had plenty of was wildlife! Although we were never worried about meeting a lion in the garden, we did see elephants, giraffes, zebras, and lots of antelopes along the road to the airport that was just half an hour away.

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you