In my years of travel, I haven’t experienced hostile hosts so far. I hope this remains the case for life. I have read horrific stories on evil hosts, border harassments not to mention racism stories. This is not to say I haven’t read amazing ones even better experienced them. Last year we did Loita hills and our camping trip turned out great. Mainly because of the hosts. This year we decided to revisit the place and the love was amazing. Same compound, same faces, and a few new faces. It can only get better. During this entire period, I felt at home and it inspired me to this post. What are the things we expect from you while being hosted by locals and what do we not expect from you? Shall we?
Communication; This goes both ways. In an instance where you both agreed on you being hosted before arrival, it is only fair you communicate your arrival, stay, and departure dates. On the travel day do a reminder a day earlier and confirm the plans and while on the roads moderately inform the host on your whereabouts. When you leave for your excursions let them know when you plan to be back. For the hosts communicate too i.e. on your routines and even culture. Ask questions and never assume a thing e.g. are you a vegetarian, is it a vegetarian household? Avoid vulgar language and commanding.
Phones, laptops/gadgets; Team “chai moto” this is for us. What about silencing your phone at night if you are sharing a house with the host? Or reduce your ringtone volume? What about excusing yourself to receive calls? What about participating in real-time conversations with the hosts, learn a thing or two, and share your experiences? It is only fair you respect their spaces. When it comes to charging avoid demanding, carry your charger, and charge after hosts unless they insist otherwise. If you own a power bank tag it with you.
Noise Pollution; On our last trip we extended our bonfire as we caught up with Phenny and it hit me in the morning we were loud and kept a few members awake. Be mindful of others, avoid loud music unless the hosts are okay and part of it, avoid loud phone calls during the night and throwing parties or inviting people in the compound without the host’s consent.
Lend a hand; By allowing you to their space they have done more than enough. What about you participate in house chores? Assist with cooking, cleaning the space, or even serving. Avoid just watching Television and staring at your gadgets throughout.
Schedule and routine; Request for the host’s schedule and flow with it e.g. get to know what time are meals served? What time is bedtime? What activities are done when, how, and where? This is to avoid collision and help you excuse yourself early enough if you cannot make it for some of the routines. If you know you will get home after dinner request to not be included and ensure you have your meals outside the house. If you are a host and you have strictly family routines let the guest know for them to give you space and if you can postpone it to a later date, it will be appreciated.
Culture (Dressing, food, language); My team slay till eternity, team drip is important. When the dressing is mentioned ladies come to your mind, this goes for both genders. Understand how they dress and try dressing appropriately. Men avoid walking in the compound shirts off, ladies avoid booty shorts if the hosts and the community do not wear them. Ask questions, do your research before traveling on the community and their way of life. Request to fix your meal if you cannot have what they are having for whatever reason. Use a language they can understand. If visiting with a friend avoid the use of your mother tongue if the host does not understand the language.
Excursions/itinerary; Share your itinerary with the host. This way they are aware of your wellbeing, open up to ideas on the same, and invite them to the most basic activities if they can afford it and if they are available. If they would love to join but have no budget respect this unless you offer to pay as a way of giving thanks. Note do not feel obliged to pay for anything though.
Photography; Do not take photos with the hosts and their families without requesting. Avoid doing the same with the locals without their permission. Not everyone is into technology.
Clean up after self; Same way you clean up in your space, do the same while being hosted. Do your laundry, if camping make use of the trash bin as required, not to forget to leave every space you use better than you found it. If you lose or break anything it is only fair, you offer to fix or replace it.
Gift; Whatever little you have give it back to the community/host. You can do shopping or just get souvenirs. Remember to verbally appreciate them as well. You can also take part in an activity as a way of thanking them. If they offer you gifts to take with you, appreciate them, whether you choose to keep it or not. If you get guide services do not assume they will do it for free. Ask and agree on the fee if any. Bid them a sweet goodbye at the end of it all and remember to notify them once you have gotten back home.
Shout out to all the amazing hosts out there and most importantly to the Nguruman team (Leornard, Mwalimu, Ester, Gitonga, and Ken) Blessings. We appreciate and enjoyed the stay. Till next time like, share, comment, and let us know what is it that we missed.