Narrator – All ways lead to Rome

From the harbour of Alexandria I left Africa to never return again. I travelled by boat to Valletta in Malta and then with another boat to Rome. For the first time I was fully surrounded by water; constantly there was the cradles of the boat and the sloshing of waves. In the boat, I was again contained in the womb; I grew to a new life in another world. During day I napped in the shade and at night I watched the starry night and the moon. In silence I prepared for.

All-encompassing  Rome received me with open arms. Enclosed in the Catholic habits the afterlife was awaiting. Many habits were different than in Kenya, but for me it was a continuation of my heavenly school years at the nuns.


In that autumn and winter I did not discover the world of Rome, but Rome entrusted itself to me. Later on our quest to “Who are you”, I read in a book a short passage that reflects my life in Rome: “Is it a foregone conclusion that the discovery of the world only comes from our side? Why would not the world entrusts itself to us to be discovered?” [2]. Jalāl al-Dīn – in the Western and Muslim world better known as Rumi [3] – wrote: “Rome is always decaying and growing for You, and how should a man plead with You for the sake of a single man’s soul?” [4]


In Rome, the earthiness was linked to vanity and grandeur. During day and evening I worked in the kitchen of a posh restaurant.


In early morning I walked down the streets and I looked at the buildings from different times. During night I slept outdoors in parks and regularly there was a lover where I could stay.


That winter there was lots of rain in Rome and I saw the first snow in my life. I was astonished about the abundance of water.


The following spring it was possible to continue my voyage to Amsterdam. The roads to the North were passable again. I began my voyage from Rome to Amsterdam by foot.

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[2] Bron: Safranski Rüdiger, Heidegger en zijn Tijd. Amsterdam: Olympus, 2012, vijfde druk p. 34

[3] Jalāl al-Dīn has been given the name Rumi in the Arab world, because he lived in Konia, south of Ankara in Turkey while writing his great works. This part of the Arab world was identified with Rome from the Roman Empire. Source: Lewis, Franklin D., Rumi, Past and Present, East and West. Oxford: Oneworld, 2003 p. 9

[4] Free rendering of Poem 78 from: Arberry, A,J, Mystical Poems of  Rūmī, Volume 1. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991 p. 69

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