Mohsin Jiwa has his own family tree web site!
August, 2002 interesting letters received from Mohsin Jiwa on his recent visit to East Africa.
As salaam alaikum, wa rahmatullahi wa
Barakatu, and YAM
And congratulations you managed to get my mailbox full. It took quite along
time but we managed it. This means that I am back home and have started working like "...".
Unfortunately the vacation is over and we have to talk about it. Yes, we have to talk about it because there are a lot of us who have left home and will not be returning there very often, so a nice chat about the "home" refreshes everybody's memories of the good old days.
After having been married to an Isna Asheri woman from Moshi I have been having the opportunities to visit
Moshi almost every year but unfortunately rarely Mombasa. There is always a thought in the back of my mind. And I asked our people if the situation could have been different if the Asian would have played an active role in the future of the Independent East Africa (Kenya, Uganda Tanzania etc).
Before my departure to Mombasa I requested my brothers and sister to give me the reference in Mombasa and brother Ramzan gave me a list of people I was supposed to greet, unfortunately I could not comply with
The planned flight with Condor did not work out as willed so I had to fly a long way Frankfurt-Heathrow-Nairobi and Mombasa, which gave me the opportunity to meet the family of Basheer Mohammedhussein Dewji, whom I wish to meet everytime when I am in Nairobi. Turned out to be a good friend although he is the cousin of my wife and brother of Mazahir Dewji. We spend an evening at the Jaffery Sports Club restaurant or whatever it is called and had a nice meal. Sheekh Kebab was delicious. Steak was not. Naushad Merali name was all over there. I don't seem to know him somehow. Probably somebody can introduce him to me. I asked Basheer about the Train journey to Mombasa and viceversa and he informed me that it is safe but does not go everyday. Probably the next time I shall dare to travel the NBO-MBA leg.
After being overworked here I had planned to go and spend a lazy week in Nyali Beach Hotel in Mombasa with my family and that turned out to be sucess. I enjoyed my stay at the Hotel every minute of it and do not regret it. Things turn out to be different then planned and so was it with me. I was planning to meet a lot of people in Mombasa and informed you personally but it did not materialize. By then I had the chance to meet a lot of new peoples. One week for Mombasa is a short time. I met a lost cousin of mine who lives in Nyali Naushad and Karima Jiwa. It was nice family reunion.
Some month back I wrote and requested the book "Through Open Doors" by Cynthia Salvadori because I could not get it from Amazon. Brother Riyaz Virjee and sister Jenny Somji and were the one to respond fast to send me one from their collection. Sister Jenny offered her hospitality and introduced us to the "Mubins", somewhere on the New Nyali Bridge and what I am talking about is the "muskaki" Mombasa style 4 pieces of meat in "fagiya" sticks, where the meat was exteremly hygienic an tender including the "mafuta" part of it.
Thanks once again for the nice gesture. Then there is the family of Murtaza Dewji and Razia who are the part of the family and her daughter Fatimah took all the trouble to take us around. Naushad and Yusuf Mohammedali Jiwa are the part of the family I could visit and met my cousin Mohammedali Naushad Jiwa the swimming Champion.
A lot of locals think that the "Tamarind" is big stuff in Mombasa. The biggest disappointment was it on our last day of the stay in Mombasa. Expectations were very high and the price astronomical Kshs 2500, - local rate and $70.00 for the foreigners. A "Rip off" with an unfriendly staff talking in a language that we foreigners could not understand. I pretended English with the description of the menu, I did not understand. Food served didn't justify the cost and the Lobsters, Prawns and the Steaks may impress the Mombasa people but far from the standard that the foreigner is used to. Neither an Indian, African, French or the western taste was to be detected. SAVE the money for some thing better and avoid the name "TAMARIND". It does not deserve the name of seafood restaurant. Go to the "Shenai" and get your moneys worth.
The only complains that the Mombasans had, was that education and Health is expensive. I tried to inform them that in western countries everything is not for free and that I am paying almost EURO 500. - per month for the last 30 years that I am working here and have rarely visited the Doctors and the Hospitals, didn't create a good impression on them.
Since I visited Mombasa in 1998 and comparing it to today the city has improved a lot. Roads have been repaired. Before you would be driving at 20kph in 1st gear but now 60kph ad faster is possible if the Matatus do not cross your way.
The Ndia Kuu and the Vasco da Gama
streets have also an even surface with some sleeping policemen's but the
overall condition of the roads are perfect. I had an opportunity to go to the
(Alibhai Panju KSI) Primary School around the darkness 19:00 and was surprised
to see the Wahindis walking alone on the road. I asked the host for the
explanation and she gave me a very surprised look. "It is not as bad as in
Nairobi". In my days (1960s) I would not have dared to go to the APKSI
Primary School area in the darkness. Being the friend of the son Hassan of the
Principal Mr. Mehdi, I often visited him ands stayed their very often.
Mombasa is a nice place to stay even after the people are complaining and the situation is getting "bad" day by day. Our people are all well to do. I left Mombasa in 1964 after the Zanzibar revolution and since 35 years the situation is not bad at all. Most of the Asian have either left for better prospect in Nairobi which offered a better salaries in those days and a imprisonment at darkness or the professional left for the foreigner countries. I also left and make a "bad" selection.
Everytime I leave Mombasa I regret that I left Mombasa. There are Asians living there and I could also have lived there. Eating the Changu fish and the prawns, mushkakis, Bazi and Mandazi and a lot of fruits and fine things that I enjoyed this time, I have started to miss it as soon as I am here.
The next 3 weeks we spent at Moshi and I was not well so I visited Arusha only once and unfortunately could not attend the marriage of Sibtain Mohammed Remtullah Pirbhai in Mombasa. Unfortunately enough I could not travel to Dar es salaam - Nizar my apologies I could not visit your brothers.
I wish to extend my apologizes to the brother of the Mombasa Jamaat that this time I could not see all of them. My apologies go to my auntie Zarina and children. My apologizes to Anwer Uncle, whom I could not visit. My apologizes to my Aunt Zehra Esa Nathoo also.
Duas and Salaam
As salaam alaikum,
That is one proof that the world is round. After the wonderful vacation you return to the place where one has to earn his bread. Anyway a trip to Mombasa or say East Africa is worth all the time. We have been hearing since I left Mombasa in 1964 that the political situation in EA is bad and one day we shall have to vacate our "homeland."
Ask the people who have vacated their homeland and are living in the Western countries how they are feeling there. My opinion is that we took the opportunities to flee the country with all the excuses but not knowing what we are expecting in the new world. Mombasa's intellectuals first left for Nairobi where the pay was good and got stuck over there are still living there. Image the Jaffery Complex in Nairobi. It is very impressive and the attitude of the Jafferies of Nairobi must be respected towards the other Asian. My compliment. In the meantime the Asians in Mombasa have also turned out to be more prosperous and the life does not seem to be bad at all. That we have to work to earn the money is well understood and a little bit of (hard) work does everybody good which brings more money in ones pocket. In Mombasa one does not have to fight the weather or run around in the undergrounds to travel from home to work, and that "In western countries both the people have to work to make the ends meet". Did we leave the country to make the ends meet. In Mombasa (EA) most of the Asians are in business and one person work not very far from his HOME to make the ends meet. And the education of the children is also an important factor why people left for the West. I would like to know the rate of the educated East African children, and according to my information Toronto, California etc the children of the East African Asian does not sound very impressive. I guess Mombasa and DAR have good school to meet the western standard.
Health is another complain of the Mombasa folktale. It is expensive and if keep some money on the side every month then? I am forced to pay the Health Insurance at the rate of EURO 500, - whether I like it or not and that since the last 30 years Progressively) and I have rarely used the money in all the days. We have more Eid days that the doctor days a year. Wisdom has always been to save the money for the rainy days. (And I know that it never rains, IT POURS). It seems that for the amount of money the bill of whole of Mombasa could be paid.
I received a letter from a Mombasa person who migrated to Toronto few months back and I could weigh his tears. Everything else is fine here and life is as usual. Let me tell you what my wife commented. If you would not be working for the Airlines and we didn't have the opportunity to fly (cheap) I would not be in this country. There is a lot of effort to imitate the Western also in Mombasa, and what was sad that one should not reject the gift that you get for FREE. Without pointing at any one I wish to emphasize that my children living in Frankfurt, Germany are speaking better Gujrati then some of the young people from us I met in Mombasa. It is a shame. A gift that we get for FREE should not be rejected. Nobody reject talking Kiswahili and since 12 years of my marriage and visiting EA almost every year and meeting people in Toronto who speak Kiswahili I have been making a good effort since then to communicate and am in a position to communicate and understand what they talk. To imitate the western is also the a project called Tamarind which is neither western or local and only the ambition to "rip off " the tourist without offering the Value for the money. On the other hand Nyali Beach Hotel was so co-operative and the people were so nice and they did offer the Value for the money. There was nobody running after us to get rich. The Coconuts on the tree were also free of charge and when the staff knew that we were interested in Drinking the coconuts and eating the Malai the would get it for the us everyday and more over the soft Malai quality when we complained that yesterday they were Nazi (hard Malai) That is a place to go back again without any thought.
I remember in my childhood days that when I used to roam the bushes of Mombasa the were Makanju (Cashewnut) trees and the fruits were very delicious. The Kharosho used to hang below which was useless but the fruit was tasty when ripe and soft?
It was nice to meet you and will always be an opportunity to remember you more because you were nice and tender with the family. My wife also enjoyed you company and the children enjoyed your hospitality (Mushkaki at Mubins). Thanks once again and keep in touch
Duas and Salaam
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