Four friends set out to experience their country. An understatement, though it is the choice of words used to describe the gorgeous concept of Routes. A show, which in my opinion, could sweep across the nation, and change how we see our country.
Recently I got the chance to interview Shamit Patel of Homeless of Nairobi, and besides his heart for the helpless one of the other amazing things he is working on that he happened to share with me was the project Routes. The trailer itself, which is on You-Tube, is incredible. It will take your breath away and fill you with combined emotions of suspense, expectation, and excitement—well, only if you are an adventure junky–.
Here are some of the things Sham shared about this under the radar new show. “I love travelling and that is one of the things I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to travel Africa, I want to travel the world, and I want to show that Kenyan production can do this in a very unique way.”
When did you come up with the concept?
Last year in March I was having a conversation with my girlfriend and we came up with this concept. I happened to look at the KTB website and saw the videos they had to advertise Kenyan tourism. It was basically white people doing things like getting married on the beach and I was like, “That’s not Kenyan.” Things like riding a horse through Maasai Mara. That could be part of an experience but not the whole experience.
What was your goal with Routes?
I wanted to show that Kenyans can make a product of high quality, which resonates with Kenyans. I don’t like the concept of foreigners coming to show us how we should enjoy our own country. It should be us who grew up here, born and bred to be passionate about showing how we can do it, and do it in good quality.
What is your vision?
My vision for Routes is really big. I know a lot about travel, especially in this country and I wanted to put that to use. To impact the tourism sector of our nation and to show that there is so much beauty to be discovered outside of our comfort zones.
What are your struggles?
I, we, have so many ideas but all these ideas just disappear because we don’t have the proper funding. There is so much potential here but the problem in this country is that if people don’t know you, no one will give a damn. We have had to resort to selling personal items to raise funding for the show, because we don’t want to compromise the quality for anything.
Why do you believe this is important?
To be honest our country really needs a product like this right now. The way Kenyan tourism has gone, it’s in the gutter. It’s picking up slowly now. One of the problems is a lot of people want to travel but they don’t know how to. We just want to make an exciting way to show people there are unique places out there not so far from home.
People need to see you also don’t need to spend that much money. You don’t have to go to Mombasa and spend 20,000 shillings a night when you can camp under the stars, out on the beach for 300 bob. You don’t have to go all the way to the Mara to experience wildlife, or if you do go you don’t have to spend 40k on a hotel when you can camp on the River Bed of the Mara.
We just want to show that there is a different side to it as well. The way it has been shown is extremely generic and it is frustrating because people need to see that there is so much more to it.
I believe Sham found a way to put into action what we have at one point or another thought about. Our country is beautiful yet so much of it is untouched and unexplored by us. Routes is a concept that needs to be publicized as much as possible so that they can get the funding they need to carry it out. I know it will be more than worth it.
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.