As a Stargardtien, the sense of listening is more important than vision. The sounds around you can tell you much about what is going on. Even if you just sit on the porch of your house. The following newsletter features an audio recording of a typical Sunday in Nyahururu.
I recommend using good headphones or earphones, as the recordings were made with a special microphone that preserves the spatiality of the sounds.
(click on the triangle above to start the player)
What is happening
I like to stay in bed a little longer on Sunday. So I often sit around 8:30 am at breakfast when the Catholic Church across rings for mass; from tape and over loudspeakers. This is the second mass: the first, in English, begins at 7:00 am, the second is held in Swahili, and the third, at 10:00 am, is held in Kikuyu. After breakfast, I take care of the house and while sweeping the veranda I can hear my neighbour on the right, who is also doing something around the house and is singing. There usually is a lot of singing in Nyahururu.
Then the neighbouring children on the left are up and playing in the garden. Sometimes they come to visit me to see what the muzungu (Swahili for a European; literally: strange, curious) is doing - and how far the strawberries are in his garden. Then the alarm system of the neighbour behind me goes off once more. This is a frequent occurrence, sometimes a passing truck or a clap of thunder is enough to set it off. Although I don't live on the main Nyahururu-Nyeri road, the traffic is very present. Especially the Bodabods, motorcycle couriers for people and goods, are always numerous and loud on the road.
This is also due to the slight incline in front of the entrance to Nyahururu High School for Boys, a boarding school with 800 boys, where I live in one of the teachers' houses. My two neighbours on the left and right are both teachers at the school. And both keep chickens, like many others in town, when they have the opportunity. In addition, the school cowshed is right in front of my gate.
In the afternoon, the school organizes a leisure activity for the students, while the church choir rehearses next door. In the evening it gets a little quieter, time to get out my hammock. Only the calf is bored. It is usually tied up in the shade and receives a bucket of water that it often tips over. Fortunately, the farmer comes with the big cows and milking begin. Here a rural soundscape meets an urban one.
Thunder can be heard in the distance. I sit on my veranda and watch the approaching thunderstorm. When it starts raining, a flock of guinea fowl is looking for a dry place. A pair of birds live in my garden and calls every morning; very loud birds, but unfortunately too unpunctual to use them as an alarm clock. When it gets too cool and too wet even under the veranda roof, I withdraw into the house.
Here individual sound pieces are described with time code. In addition, special noises are listed that you can discover. It is not a complete record, not every bird call is listed individually. Some recurring noises are only mentioned the first time.
00'00 motorcycle on the right
This article is part of the series "Stargardt in Africa".