Omena, Royco, Jogoo and everything in between…..

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I am going to ask quite a number of questions throughout my blog post…so if you can find some 🍵or coffee, grab your cup then come back and read 🤗

Ready to go?

Have you ever left a place you called home and started a fresh? I guess you have. We all do at some point in our lives. We pack and leave loved ones, we grow up and leave our parents’ home, we leave or take a break from relationships, we move cities and then we gain the courage to move countries and finally continents. Every time we leave our comfort zones, move places, sooner rather than later we realize we have carried ourselves with us. So, it can either be a terrifying moment or an adventure of a lifetime.


With other international students at Chepstow, a small city outside Cardiff.

Our thoughts fail us the most. We spend time wondering, what kind of people will we meet on the other side? Will we make new friends? How will life be? Will I manage the winter season? Do I have to deal with racism? How about feeling home sick? We bombard our lives with a thousand questions. We wake up more worried than we were yesterday.

In my last blog post, I mentioned that my fellow Chevening Scholars and I found ourselves in a chat group almost immediately after the results were announced. It’s through this group where we connected with other scholars heading to the same school. We discussed a lot about what to expect during the two months before we left. We discussed about our visa application, the delays and what could have led to the same. While most of us were happy to have made it to the prestigious list, it was evident that this was also a journey full of anxiety 😔😔

We all hoped that we would find a place we liked and call it home. While we hoped, another discussion was starting. What should we pack? How many suitcases should we carry? What’s the limit per suitcase? Will xyz stuff be acceptable? The packing conversation was truly hilarious. When we were ready to leave, every Kenyan wanted to carry a piece of ‘Kenyanness’ with them to the United Kingdom. Interestingly, we all had ‘things that were so dear to us and leaving them behind was such a hard decision to make😩😩

With some of the Cardiff Students from Kenya at Cardiff Bay, Cardiff.


I will explain. In Kenya, specifically in Nairobi, we love parties and we are glad to find reasons to celebrate. My family, friends, mentees, colleagues organised a number of parties before I left. I guess I attended seven of them, all of them dubbed ‘farewell party’. Every time I attended these parties, I went home with lots of gifts, most of them personalised. I really love the sight of my name on things. I really do 😎😎 Somehow, all my gifts had my name. To me, it meant someone or some people had taken their time to think of a perfect gift for me. Books are one of my favourites. I received 11 books two weeks before I left Kenya. I am grateful for all the 🎁 free lunches and dinners 🤗🤗

As I packed, I really wanted all my gifts with me. I wanted to wake up to my gifts spread all over the room, just a reminder that, if it ever gets lonely abroad, then I have a community back at home that truly loves me and is praying for me. I struggled to have them fit in one suitcase. This was not going to happen ☹️☹️. I removed them and made ✌️ with the fact that I was going to leave them behind.

A collection of goodies from Kenya, from my housemates and I.

While I was going through my own struggles with my moving checklist, the other scholars were busy discussing food stuffs to pack. Wow! This too was quite interesting 😅😅I am not sure how to describe this, but believe you me, we all carried food stuffs. Last Friday, as I prepared for this blog post, I quickly sent out a request, asking the scholars to list for me in order of priority, any of the three food stuff they brought with them to the UK. The answers ranged from maize flour specifically Jogoo, bush honey harvested from Emali, Royco and Royco cubes (others brought up to 3kgs of Royco 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣, allow me to have a good laugh) Does anyone use 3kgs of Royco within a year? Never mind the fact that I don’t use Royco but I brought some with me. This, I can assure you was as a result of peer pressure. Anyway, the list continues, Omena (real omena, ordered from Kisumu city) Kericho Gold, Simba Mbili Curry Powder, Fulu/wiu (small fish) Obambo (slaughtered dry fish) Bude (smoked fish) Tropical Heat Spices, porridge flour, etc. Just like the rest, in addition to my Royco, I packed honey, spices (tea masala, mixed spices, pilau masala) 2kgs of maize flour and mwiko (cooking stick), curry powder and Kericho Gold tea bags.

International Food Centre at City Road in Cardiff. You will find everything in here.

So what really makes us carry all these and in big quantities 🤷🏾‍♀️ Chevening Secretariat as well as the various schools we were coming to, on their info pack emphasized that we did not have to carry all these with us but still, we heard none of it. Is it just a pure case of being patriotic? I am baffled 🤦🏼‍♀️ I asked my next question, having settled now and visited various shops including the African or even International shops that are run by Africans and Indians, if you were to pack again, would you pack all these food stuffs? From most scholars, the answer was a capital NO….”I wouldn’t have packed any of those foodstuffs, I now realize I could find everything I wanted in this city. They might have a slight different taste, but I can find them. I just needed my hand luggage and I would be fine.” Was one of the responses that I received. This too is my biggest regret. I should have brought my gifts 😢😢especially my books rather than the foodstuff I brought with me.

An aerial view of the Cardiff Market. It has everything you need. 

Isn’t the whole essence of relocation about meeting new people, learning a new culture, experimenting with new foods and new recipes, toasting to a new life and living it to the fullest? Soon you will realise that moving from your comfort zone, is actually the best thing you did with your life. Anyway, we learn. I can only hope those that are coming after us will not bow down to this peer pressure. What’s your experience? Please share. 

Grocery Shop at City Road in Cardiff.

When you have time, here is an interesting blog post. I love it when he says “as you settle, leave the negativity in your suitcase and zip it up. That’s the only thing you do not have to unpack’ 🤩🤩

See you again next Monday 🤗 I plan to give you a vivid glimpse of Cardiff City. I am exploring. Will share my thoughts.

“The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with.” (Tony Robbins).

#MyCheveningJourney #IAmChevening

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Patience Nyange

I believe in a just society and I am a strong believer in Ralph Waldo Emerson words: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

10 thoughts on “Omena, Royco, Jogoo and everything in between…..

  • 7th October 2019 at 12:35 pm

    Awesome Nyange. However,unfortunately I am still deterred. I am coming with my food end of October ha haa! Good read,I enjoyed it.

    • 7th October 2019 at 12:39 pm

      Hahhahahah Ann, everyone to their own choices. Pack everything including 5kgs of Royco. From my end, I am for exploring new possibilities.

    • 7th October 2019 at 6:35 pm

      I did the same when I was traveling to the USA,bought Kaisugu tea leaves,coffee,bluebird and simba mbili,good thing in the US they have Farina maize flour which is tricky to cook,my patriotisim of UGALI I learned to cook it in seconds

      • 7th October 2019 at 10:48 pm

        Nice, we all do it. But if you are going to stay for long, what should you do? Maybe carry nothing that way, you start finding the ones you can use to so that you can replace your home delicacies as soon as settle. Its a matter of time.

    • 8th October 2019 at 2:33 pm

      Good read. I smiled all the way. You have a way with words my dear. Keep writing, I will be here waiting to see Cardiff through your eyes…

      • 8th October 2019 at 8:12 pm

        Awwww! I know if anyone else is not reading, Brenda is. Thank you so so much! For reading and leaving your comment. If you have feedback on how I can better my blog posts, please share. I am smiling as I respond to you. Stay well, hugs!

  • 8th October 2019 at 4:53 pm

    “Leave your negativity in your suitcase and zip it up “….Who said these words cause I love them !
    Did you share your omena with your foreign friends ?asking for a myself !

    • 8th October 2019 at 8:10 pm

      Hi Michelle,

      I read those words from the blog link I posted on this blog post. I love these words too. Quite real and very practical. I am curious about your settling in story. Feel free to share the same with us. You are dearly missed. Thanks for taking your time to read and comment. Talk to you soon. Hugs!

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