“Jambo” is a friendly Swahili word which has the idea of Hello, Greetings. And so, Greetings to you and welcome to the site of Jan E Green. Let me tell you a bit about myself:
BORN IN THE BUSH
I was fortunate to have been brought up in one of the most beautiful places in the world. We had a farm in Kenya in what was then called the White Highlands, and our farm overlooked the Subukia Valley which is part of the Great Rift Valley. The panorama that was the backdrop to our farm was truly magnificent, and although the equator ran right through our land we lived at an altitude of over 7000ft above sea level, so the alpine air was pristine and clear.
I was born in the year 1952 – the year the Mau Mau rebellion started, and grew up in an era when all the white farmers were visibly armed and tensions ran high. But in time things became peaceable again and all we had to contend with was marauding baboons that ravaged our maize crop, and the odd leopard attack on our cattle.
My siblings and I had free range of the farm, so we walked, cycled, or rode on horses all over the land – it was a wonderful childhood.
After Kenya became independent in 1963, our farm was sold and shortly after that we moved to Matuga in the coastal area of Kenya. We were situated about ten miles from the island of Mombasa on the south coast, but inland from the sea. We had changed the cool green forests and alpine air for palm trees and the hot sultry coast atmosphere, that always had the tang of salt, seaweed and the pungent Frangipani flowers. It was there that I completed my schooling and started to learn to fly.
FLYING HIGH OVER AFRICA
Another move brought us back upcountry to Nakuru, where I completed my Private Pilot’s Licence. I was seventeen. Those were some of the best years of my life. There can be few better countries to fly in – the sunny climate and the fact that there are so many prominent landmarks make things really easy. I loved flying and I was willing to fly anyone or anything anywhere – if they paid for the hire of the aeroplane. I did the ‘vegetable run’ up to the lodge at Eliye Springs on Lake Turkana. I few aeroplanes to Nairobi to be serviced, I dropped skydivers and towed gliders. I was also lucky enough to fly an American photographer called Elliot Porter around some of the game parks. He was taking photographs for an author called Peter Matthiessen, who required the photos for a book he had written. It was titled, ‘The Tree Where Man Was Born.’
After moving to Rhodesia, Bulawayo, for a short period, where I qualified as a flying instructor, I returned to Nakuru and worked under the senior instructor, teaching others to fly.
ZAMBIA IN THE SUN
I should have married a pilot, but as luck would have it I fell in love with a farmer! We moved to a farm in Zambia in 1972 and I lived there for twenty years. Zambia is a very different country from Kenya, but it has an elusive beauty and I grew to love the countryside with the thickly wooded areas and golden glades. To start with we lived in the southern province, and often went to Livingstone to gaze on the glorious Victoria Falls. Later on we moved to a farm closer to Lusaka, and my two boys, Shaun and Jamie, were born while we were there.
A THOUSAND HILLS AND MORE
After the death of my husband, my boys and I moved to Natal in South Africa. We lived among the rolling hills that are so typical of that area, and the lads received a good sound South African education. It was the uncertainty of the boys being able to get good jobs after the country became independent, and also the climbing crime rate that prompted me to move them to England in 1997.
BRITAIN AND BEYOND
You can take an African out of Africa, but can you take Africa out of an African?
My roots are too deeply embedded to be ripped out of that wonderful continent, and even though I have to remain in England for a while, my heart is still in Africa. I lived in Burford when I first came over here, a pretty little place in the Cotswolds. Now I am living in Cornwall, another lovely spot in England, but one day I will return to live in Africa permanently.