SOCIETY TALK

How Maisha Spa relieved me of more than just physical tension

This was not the time to wind down but rather to recharge for the next decade

In Summary

• The spa has a three-page menu of various relaxation and beauty therapies.

• Yoga is also offered on request. The use of the steam room, sauna and jacuzzi are available to all clients

Maisha Spa at Serena Beach Resort, Mombasa
Maisha Spa at Serena Beach Resort, Mombasa
Image: NABILA HATIMY

While the festive season draws thousands of domestic and foreign tourists to the humid coastline of Kenya, most coastal dwellers find themselves at a disadvantage. We are forced to retreat indoors into our hot houses, with the ceiling fans working overtime on full speed.

Our local favourite chill spots are crowded with upcountry fellows who enjoy the heat and take full advantage of the short dress-code weather as they post their ‘explorations’ on social media.

They look at us in awe as we walk in the scorching heat in our black buibuis, wondering how we manage not to faint from the heat. So instead, we choose to avoid the crowded outside as much as possible.

 

But, there is only so much indoors one can take. Where can we go? To the spa, of course!

My full-time unemployed self can hardly afford a back scratch at the spa, but seeing as my sister had been offering me the sweet escape for a couple of months, I decided to oblige. I did not imagine that I could go to a place where for a few hours, I would not run into any tourists in December! However, that was the case at the Maisha Spa at Serena Beach Resort.

The spa is part of the Sarova-linked resort, but they also take non-hotel resident clients, by appointment. As we had requested an afternoon appointment, my sister and I were requested to arrive at the spa a couple of hours before so we could get to use the extra facilities the spa has to offer.

The spa has a three-page menu of various relaxation and beauty therapies. Yoga is also offered on request. The use of the steam room, sauna and jacuzzi are available to all clients.

While flipping through the three-page menu, I wondered — in the midst of all my stress of unemployment, do I deserve to relax? Surely, a person like me afflicted by the many disappointments of the current government should be finding ways to get out of the funk, not to stew in a jacuzzi of self-pity.

Luckily, the jacuzzi was out of order so I settled on blurring my current messed-up 2020 vision in the steam room. The eucalyptus/lemon grass-scented mist melted the stench of garbage that litters the streets of Mombasa from my nasal passages. The steam works wonders on your skin; the pores open up to release all the underlying toxins and in 20 minutes, I was drenched in sweat like a governor resisting arrest.

For my actual treatment, I chose to revitalise myself rather than relax. I fear that if I relaxed anymore in this chaotic environment, I would sink further into the depths of despair. This was not the time to wind down but rather to recharge for the next decade. To re-energise myself, ready to take on the future. I settled for a Lime and Ginger Salt Scrub, which is designed to invigorate and revitalise the body. The scrub was followed by a Spirit Revival massage, which I was assured would surge my body with the recharge I was looking for.

 

Thinking of a spa, one imagines letting go of those that don’t serve you, like toxins and knots on your tension areas, but hardly do we ever think of letting go that which doesn’t serve us spiritually. As I knuckled under the expert hands of my masseuse, she did not only unravel the knots that had been sitting painfully on my shoulders from being tense 24/7 about my present misfortune; she managed to help me free myself of my spiritual tensions. The decade was turning and here I was, holding on to things that did not serve me.

After my return from studying abroad, it felt like the government failed me. There was no room for people like me. We had to start from ground zero. The country did not value us for the knowledge value we added but rather how much value we were worth. I spent an entire year walking around angry at everything that has failed me.

The time for self-pity has come to a stop. We hold on to so many emotions in our retaliation to a failed system. The system might fail us, the government might loot us blind, but there is more we can do than just be angry. For the next decade, we ought to fight our problems with the swift backhand serve of Serena Williams.

I walked away from the massage table revived and hopeful for the coming year like a Miguna homecoming.