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The Malombe Family

Najwa Meets More of Her Extended Family

If you’re visiting Kenya, there are a ton of things to do, places to visit, activities and events to experience. It’s one of the few African countries free of a violent and bloody past saturated with coups, dictators and civil wars. It’s home to a UN office and many regional offices for NGOs, international and multinational companies and other organizations, and one of East Africa’s busiest ports connecting it to the world.

There’s the safaris and wildlife. It has a highly visited coast and mountains and the legendary Rift Valley. Because of colonialism, English is widely spoken so it’s not difficult to get around. The dollar is strong, the people are humble and welcoming, and the capital is clean, modern and easy to navigate.

But the main reason we were there was for me and Najwa to meet Nduku’s family.

On our second full day there, Nduku’s sister Mutethya arrived from Dubai with her son Alexander. Since she was staying only for a few days, their grandmother came up from “upcountry” to see her.

The Malombe Family

From left to right is Nduku’s sister Mutethya who lives in Dubai, Nduku and Najwa, Nduku’s youngest sister Nzambi, her grandmother, her dad, mom and niece Ryana who is Nzambi’s daughter.

The Malombe Family

Mutethya with Najwa and Nduku

The Malombe Family

Nzambi and her grandmother

The Malombe Family

When I first met Nduku I started teaching myself Swahili, but it didn’t go as smoothly as I thought. I learned a lot, considering I had never heard a single Swahili word, but learning a new language follows the rules of “use it or lose it.”

Nduku’s grandmother doesn’t speak English making it literally impossible to have a direct conversation, but her facial expressions were so vivid and expressive that I could almost tell what she was saying. She’s a lively person at 80something, and I’m glad Najwa and I got to meet her. For Christmas we travel upcountry to meet the rest of the extended family.

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