Where is home?

Where is home is not a question that comes up often as does where do you come from. My experience on when someone asks you about where you come from, they most of the time want to hear your country of origin and if you are in the same country, probably they want to know your ethnic group.  This is a question I plan to explore on a later date, today lets do the business of where is home. I got in to this conversation with my fellow peace scholar and she told me she does not know where home is. She is born in Japan and lived in 5 different countries in the world and she loves some of these countries more than Japan.  She is currently living in Bradford, UK while her husband is in NY and her parents in Japan. During the Christmas break she posted in her face book that she was home safe…Alas, did she finally find out where home is??? I am yet to confirm if she found home. But wait; before I do that, lets hear what my face book friends would say about this topic.

Mark: Some people say home is where the heart is. Some of us are wanderers and some people like me connect deeply with the land I’ve been at for many year. I feel my heart lives here and I can’t imagine my body calling any other place home.

Nzungi: My view…..home is not a physical locality but a cultural phenomenon. A Japanese or American concept of home may not be the same for an African like me or you Regina. In our culture for example, our traditional family is still very closely knit and home more often than not is where your parents or spouse are settled.

Choloe: I will always call my mom’s house home even though it was not my childhood home. I have no interest what so ever in living in that town or possibly area of the country.

Hellen: Home is where we find peace of mind and heart. A place that makes you feel connected to the world. To me it is a physical locality regardless of who stays/stayed there, whether you are there alone or with other(s)

Caro: Home is where you feel at peace, where u are not afraid to be your true self. Where you feel happy and loved. Where whatever you eat be pilau, nyama coma, mthokoi, Chapo kavu na chai kwa kikombe ya mabati you still feel happy. He he he I had to add the food…..

Ken: Home is where you are, feel safe, feel loved, have purpose. It is different from a house, which is a container or shelter. On my travels I have learned that being with friends or family is what is important rather than an address.

First I feel like there is need to contextualize home in this blog. Because as my friend posted on face book that she was home safe, home might have meant the physical shelter where she went. Another friend the other day asked me if I was going home right away, and my response was yes, meaning I was going back to my Bradford apartment and surely, I don’t think this is home for me and the kind of home I am trying to define here. My home is more than a house with decorated walls, nice curtains, warm and cozy sofas. It has an element of being physical yes, but is more than that as well. Home is a feeling that sometimes is hard to express. It is not only a place where I sleep but also a place where I find fulfilment, a place where I can be me without fear; a place that gives me peace and freedom and such a place brings with it familiar things. It’s a place I understand so well, whether a house, a city, a group of people or just a place, because surely how would I be so free in a place I am not familiar with? I need some days, weeks, months or probably years to understand the place, people, to call it/them home. Whenever I purchase my air ticket to Kenya departing from any part of the world, I smell home. I look forward to touchdown in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, to the smell of my Kenyan tea, warm weather, traffic jam, familiar currency, familiar streets where I don’t have to use Google maps, and I guess at this moment I am able to tell where my home is. Not to say this is the only place I will call home for the rest of my life. I believe home changes, probably in next few years Jordan would be my home sweet home where I get all the above.

According to Mark Mataousek in one of his posts at Huffington, home is the place where we find community and the experience of belonging. He adds that, it is the reason why we may feel more at home with a group of like-minded strangers than we do with biological family. To belong, to fit in, to feel comfortable enough to be ourselves; to be seen and heard without judgment; to know that we will be taken care of in times of need, unconditionally.

Home is not the place where you were born but the place where you become yourself – Pico Lyer