Tinnaé Hamilton

Food. Chakula. Ugali. Chapati. Pineapple Mint. Githeri. Market. Fruit Lady. Grocery stores. Bargaining. I only need 5, not a kilo. Repeat customer=discount. Oh, there’s vegan yogurt. Yay! Avo toast. Bread. I. LOVE. BREAD. Fruits. Some familiar, some with a burst of enticing flavors to awaken my palate: custard apple, tree tomato, all manner of mango.

I am a creature of habit. Sure, I’ll try a new place, but, for the most part, I’m going to frequent the same eateries. Especially if the food is good and the people who are employed there are people people. You can taste the world in Nairobi. The only addition I’d make is Mexican food or Spanish food as we sometimes say in New York. Any takers? Chips (French fries) are prepared with a salty crisp at most places. Chips, as in potato chips, are made fresh on the corner with a little salt and lime and chili powder if you’d like. Fresh. Fresh like morning dew, like a spring morning, like the feeling of sunshine, like the breeze off the ocean table. Fresh. Even fast food here is fresh; lol, it’s just made faster than food in a sit-down restaurant. I’ll take fresh any day. I’ll take Nairobi, too, in all its ways.

More on food and my favorite places to eat in Nairobi in my e-book [Newbie to Nairobi: What I Wish I Knew & Discoveries Along the Way](https://www.amazon.com/Newbie-Nairobi-What-Discoveries-Along-ebook/dp/B0CPXC4812/ref=sr11?crid=3QA92QHHEZII4&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.ONj4WszhV15u7ZhsBNHpGSlXoeczcjsH2eDzv9C4kI.5fmUYkMClRZYlWCtENDJcbtXVR6rCFQc79i4JMm6njc&dibtag=se&keywords=newbie+to+nairobi&qid=1705835123&sprefix=newbie+to+nai%2Caps%2C754&sr=8-1). And while you’re reading, make you a cup of tea.


Hibiscus w/a Twist Reci-TEA ™

Enlist the following:

a handful of hibiscus flowers

½ a handful of fresh baobab or 2-3 tablespoons of baobab powder

2-3 cups of water

sugar to taste

a splash of pineapple juice for a tropical twist



Bring water to a boil

Add hibiscus and baobab and let steep for 10-15min

Add cane sugar to taste

Strain into a pitcher and allow to cool for several hours

Add splash of pineapple juice before serving

The first sounds I heard I’m unsure of. I am, however, sure of the first feelings I felt. The Motherland. The Continent. No more imagining. No more wondering. No more hoping. Here. Present. On-the-continent. ‘Don’t look like a tourist’, I kept saying to myself. I’d been listening to Swahili tapes on my way to work but, unbeknownst to me—while unsurprising—folks in Nairobi speak an Ebonics of sorts called Sheng. We are literally the same, yet different. Within the first few weeks of my arrival I saw every Black person I knew. No lie! You’re Kenyan until you’re not. You speak Swahili until you can’t. You know where you’re going until you don’t. You recognize familiar patterns, behaviors, inflections, affections. You’re at a similar yet different home.

Now for discovery. Now for making friends. I’m from New York so I know how to look like I’m good when I’m not; figure things out in the moment until it’s the path, route, mode I need to take. My ears are attuned to the American accent and respond by sending comfort signals. Then there’s a switch: Swahili to mother tongue to an English that is the same, yet different.

“Do you know…? She’s cool. You’re from Philly…you said jawn. Connect with…

On it goes. Tribe 45.

more later
about me
in Nairobi
until then, make you a cup of tea
and follow me on IG

Sorrel + Herb Reci-Tea™

Enlist the following:

sorrel (fresh, preferably with cloves and cinnamon)

2-3 fresh mint leaves

2 fresh lemon balm leaves

1 medium-sized strawberry

sweetener of choice (optional)

tea kettle



tea strainer, infuser, ball (whichever you like)

mug of choice

a good book to read in mind

  • fill tea kettle with water and bring to a boil
  • rinse all of the leaves and strawberry
  • lightly press strawberry with fork on two sides and put in mug (this might get messy, so do so on a plate or paper towel)
  • put sorrel, mint and lemon balm tea strainer
  • pour hot water then strainer into your chosen mug
  • allow tea to steep for 5 minutes then remove strainer
  • add sweetener if you wish
  • enJOY hot but do what feels right

always a wanderer

i’ve always been a wanderer
isolated even
wanting to stay to myself
never wanting to explain myself
obligated and voluntold to the care of others
what’s next…what’s new…
often wondering when wandering
is everywhere where i’m supposed to be?
wander all the Earth’s wonder as it speaks
‘you cannot stay here
go on
ferret out the desires of your heart
wander in my breath of life
go on
be a wonder’

Nature inspires me. Life’s directions come in the whistle of the wind; tugs of the grass at my feet; embrace of the warm sun; hugs of the leaves in a climbing tree; penetration of a cold breeze; tickle of the fallen leaf; swish from the gush of fruit between my teeth; grounding in the bare Earth; a gentle push from waves in the sea. I’m both silenced by and fearful of the water. She’s pulled on me physically and mentally repeatedly to satiate a deep desire to toy with my psyche. Her behavior is like that of a coquette—reeling me in with her calm only to smother me with her strength and giggle at her deception. She’s a G. I respect her. I do not eff with her. I do, however, seek her out, she and her nature cousins, wherever they may be found. This seeking, coupled with pure exhaustion brought on by multiple culprits, is what ultimately led me to Kenya.

more later
about me
in Nairobi
until then, make a cup of tea
and follow me on IG

Pineapple Black Reci-TEA

Enlist the following:

  • Pineapple skins from a fresh pineapple (keep the top part, put in water on the windowsill for decoration and JOY)
  • Sweetener of choice
  • Black or gold tea of choice (in a tea bag is fine, loose is better)
  • Fresh ginger or fresh ginger juice
  • A pot to boil water
  • Water
  • Your favorite mug
  • A blanket if you wish

-Skin the pineapple

-Get your pot and fill with however much water you need for the tea you are going to make

-Turn the heat to medium-high

-When it’s bubbling, not boiling, add the pineapple skins and fresh ginger

-When the water starts to boil, turn the heat down to a low boil

-Let pineapple skins boil until there is a sweet aroma or for about 15-20min

-Before steeping the tea, add your sweetener of choice and ginger juice if no fresh ginger

-Turn off the heat and allow your tea to steep in the pot (4-7min)

-Carefully strain your tea as to not burn yourself

-enJOY hot or cold

Enter your email to subscribe to updates.