Dear Dad Thank You For Accompanying Me To Mombasa

My letter to my dad was published in Maclean’s online and appears in the June print issue.

I was born in Mombasa, Kenya in 1978. That’s where my story began. But until March of this year, I couldn’t really say that I had been there. My parents, grandmother and I immigrated to Canada before my first birthday and, while my upbringing certainly included East African flavours, I always knew I wanted to go back and experience it for myself.

East Africa was home to my paternal and maternal sides of the family since my great-grandparents’ generation. They arrived from India in the late 1800’s for employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. In reality, this is just a blip of my history; since the beginning of time, my family called India home. (I actually took a DNA test and learned I am 100% South Asian. Without a doubt, India is my first home). But, East Africa is the most tangible for me because it’s so recent. I’m also enamoured by the fusion of Indian/East African food and the marriage of Cutchi and Kiswahili (in Zanzibar, where my maternal grandparents were born, the languages are so fused that the Ethnologue actually lists Cutchi-Swahili as one of the languages of Tanzania). Because I still have family in Kenya (and don’t in India), I figured I’d feel a special sense of home in my birthplace.

For much of my life, I envisioned returning as an adult. Finally, at the age of 40, I was able to make it happen! Not just on my own but with my dad who, it turns out, is a fabulous travel partner, and the best person to go ‘back in time’ with as his memory and nostalgia really brought our history to life for me.

It was a short but deep journey and I am already planning on taking my kids, husband and hopefully dad again in the next few years.

I wrote a thank-you letter to my dad for accompanying me to our birthplace. My heart still fills with joy when I think of our adventures and I am so grateful to him for connecting me to the land and people in Mombasa.

My letter was published in Maclean’s Before You Go column and I am proud to have my words in this iconic Canadian magazine.

Read My Full Article On Maclean’s Here

One thought on “Dear Dad Thank You For Accompanying Me To Mombasa

  1. Dear Taslim congratulations on being published in Maclean’s. What a touching and nostalgic account of your travel to Mombasa, with your beloved father. “I hope I can go back to the land of my ancestry one day!” I thought to myself after reading your heartfelt letter. Thank you for sharing.

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