Meet Josphat Charo Nyiro originally from Shariani a small village 60km from Mombasa. Born in 1976, he went to Starehe Boys’ Centre and studied Psychology, Education and German at the Kenyatta University. He later worked at KBC and now currently works for Deutsche Welle Kiswahili in Bonn. He’s part of the “Learning by Ear” program (read the post I did on it here: Learning by Ear).
4th June 2004 at the Frankfurt am Main Airport at 6am, I had just arrived from Addis Ababa. The day before I had boarded the Ethiopian Airways flight in Nairobi. I had left my homeland with many wild ideas of what Germany was: a country full of sky scrapers, streets lined with gold and silver; no grass; no trees; only huge buildings, cars, indutries and football stadia everywhere. I had always watched “Football made in Germany” with friends when I was still in Shariani, so I knew Rummennige, Beckenbaure, Bierhoff and Klinsmann. I was sure I would meet one of these stars in Frankfurt. Now it’s years later and I’m still yet to meet any of these stars. And the other clichées? Those were also myths as well.
Instead I have met many other people who are just like you and I. Now I have 2 families: my parents, siblings, uncles and aunts in Kenya and a family here in Germany, a family of a former colleague. She has been very good to me and has always been there for me, something I would never have dreamt of a few years ago.
I had never thought of coming to Germany. I’d always dreamt of either going to the US or the UK, even in school noone ever spoke of Germany. At one point I had to pick between German and Music as subjects in school and I chose German because I thought I would use it if I got a job at one of the many hotels at the Kenyan coast where many Germans frequented- But it worked out differently.
I remember my very first Christmas in Germany. A colleague of mine invited me to their family gathering and it occured to me how different family relations here differed from those from back home. In Kenya it is normal to check on relatives regularly but here in Germany, it’s quite normal for one to live right across the country and never check on the others or stay very long without seeing one another. Usually during Christmas people go home, even here.
In Germany I’ve learnt a lot from chopping wood, driving a tractor and mowing the lawn. It was also new for me that one had to always have a ticket when travelling with the buses and trains. Someone told me, I’d have to pay €40 if I was caught without one. But if I wasn’t caught I’d travel for free. Germany, what a wonderful country of disciplined citizens with remarkable morality. No one would ever introduce such a thing in my homeland.
My life in Germany today and my life in Kenya then can’t even be compared. I had to get used to a lot of things when I moved here. On the same example of the train, you board a train and someone comes and sits next to you without saying a single word then when they want to alight, they get up and look at you, smile then say Tchüss. Even in the lift. This irritated me but I’ve gotten used to it.
I was also shocked to see bicycles in the city, weren’t in Germany bicycles confined to the rural areas? But now, I’m convinced that bicycles in the city are a good thing, and not only for the environment. I now ride my bike daily to work, atleast with it, you never meet any conductor asking for your ticket.
As a Kenyan I’m always happy to watch quality documentaries about Africa being shown on German tv. As a Journalist, I’m proud to be able to use my program at the Deutsche Welle to bring Germany closer to people in Africa.
Kenya is my homeland but gradually Germany is also becoming my home. I recently got married (2010), my wife is also Kenyan and will be moving to Bonn soon then I’ll have another family, the third which will be mine.
Listen to the audio here: AUDIO
Interview on Ein Deutschland Viele Gesichter