Watermelon = virility (and other thingsI’ve learned in Kenya)

Posted on: January 18, 2012

Kenyan people are really nice and really chatty.  It makes for fun trips when you’re in the car for hours stuck in traffic and driving to clinic.

Yesterday, during lunch, the delivery person brought watermelon as dessert, which got one of our colleagues telling us about how watermelon is nature’s viagra. This led to some heated discussion on if this is true, and according to him, it very much is and eating too much watermelon can cause ‘twitching.’  We had the giggles all through lunch. But! Obviously, if nature creates a ‘pick-me-up’ it also has to have the opposite, right? Yin and yang…. so we then learned that papaya is the antidote as it’s a depressant! So apparently, if you don’t want any unintended twitching, you should always serve papaya and watermelon together. Which… gross.

Mind you, this was all in the same conversation as the world ending in 2012, UFOs landing in Kenya millions of years back and how we should have magnetic flying cars by now.  But for hours we discussed fruit and its effects on the male libido (male only, of course).  One of our other coworkers (we’ll call him E) quietly said, “Well, papaya’s out of my budget now.” And again, we all giggled and asked if it’d been replaced with watermelon. He said yes, but he didn’t want to eat anymore at that moment. (This entire conversation in the States would’ve ended with a sexual harassment lawsuit…)

We stopped at a true farmer’s market on the way back to Nairobi, where the women (and men) come running with their fruits and veggies to sell, right at your car, straight from the farms. We all decided we would not be buying any papaya that day, especially E. As he said, he “still needs a photocopy of myself” (i.e., he needs a child)…

Here’s the other thing I’ve learned in Kenya. People will throw their wares at you, hoping to trick you into buying them. This happened with the Masai women on our way into the Mara for safari: they leaned into the car, put bracelets on our wrists and then we got asked to pay for them. Um… no. It happened again at the market. I turned to look to the window and all of a sudden, E was just holding a single, random banana, looking around, trying to give it back to its rightful owner. But they didn’t want it! It was in his hands, so it was his… he just had to pay for it. Finally, the older woman took her banana back after he explained he had no need to buy that single one or the whole bunch. Have you ever watched someone try to find the owner of a lonely banana and people avoid eye contact so as not to admit it was their’s? I never thought I would… but I have now. Awesome.

Kenya makes me laugh, a lot. I love it here.


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