Install

Get the latest updates as we post them right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Lacks: Banku, Kenke and Total Freedom

These days you no longer need to bring your own toilet paper, tampons and bath plugs when coming to Moscow: You can now find just about anything here but there are some exceptions.

Kester Klomegah asked some expats what they think this city is lacking and what they miss most of all from home.

Weah Karpeh, a pastors assistant from Monrovia, Liberia, has been living in Moscow for five years.

"Sometimes I strongly feel like eating traditional foods such as yams, banku, kenke and kena. Banku and kenke are made of fermented maize, and kena is a kind of stew that you eat with banku and kenke. They are not available in the food stores here. During my first year I went out specially and roamed most of the shops, but I realized that they are things that I can never buy here."


Izumi Sato of Tokyo, Japan, studies at the State Film Institute and has lived in Moscow since 1994.

"When youre trying to judge the freshness of sushi fish, it shouldnt be frozen and thawed. Sushi tastes better when its fresh and eaten raw, especially with Japanese beer. Comparably, ume-shu, a Japanese liquor, is just right before dinner. Ume means plum and shu means alcohol. We dont have the right ones in the citys restaurants. It makes me think of home every day."


Abdillahi Hassan Jama, from Somalia, is an associate professor in the faculty of humanities and social sciences at the Peoples Friendship University.

"I have been living in Russia for the past 22 years and have tried to immerse myself in Russian culture and get adapted to the climatic conditions. But still, I cant say for sure that all is well with me. Sometimes when I remember Daalo Ubaxeeda, a mountain in southern Somalia that is surrounded by water and sweet scented flowers and, of course, the east African sunshine in my beautiful and ancient home town of Marka Caddy, I have an inner feeling as if my soul has completely gone out of my body."


Gautam Ruia of Bombay, India, works in pharmaceuticals marketing and has lived in Moscow for seven years.

"Overall I am very happy in this country and now I think I have two homes Moscow and Bombay but I know Moscow better than Bombay now.

"Although there seems to be everything on sale in the citys shops and department stores these days, I still find it difficult to get by, and am looking for special ingredients spicy things for my vegetarian food. Bhel, for example.

"I am a vegetarian and cant just settle for anything. Back home in Bombay, I always used Indian ingredients to prepare my vegetarian food at home. I dont fancy restaurant food. In Moscow, I havent seen the ingredients in the shops yet, and it occurs to me that they are scarce in the market. I really feel homesick because of my special food."


Jose Dyuarte is a musician from Salvador, Brazil, who has lived in Moscow for eight years.

"I love our Brazilian cultural festivals. The Brazilian carnival and its heartwarming and thrilling musical accompaniment is just part of my soul, and I cant afford not to participate in it every year. Russia has its own cultural festivals, but the Brazilian carnival and the special costumes to go with it, those half-naked beautiful women dancing and twisting their bodies oh no! Dont attempt to mention it again or else Ill be unable to help screaming all day long. Its a fantastic and incomparable festival for me, which I dream of while in Moscow."


Eddy Karkoukly from Cannes, France, is a dental technician with the European Dental Center.

"I think I have completely adapted to life in Russia although I have been living here for one year and three months.

"What I really miss [about France] is the sandy beaches with the bright blue skies, the sun and the sea. The thing is that I often catch colds here. But still I find people in Russia to be less selfish, closer and more friendly in comparison with Western Europe. I like this town, I like this country."


Keith Whyte is an English teacher from Guyana.

"Every time someone asks me what I miss most while living in Moscow, a dozen things immediately come to mind, usually some of the vegetables and a number of the dishes that I often eat in Guyana, with its mixture of Indian, African, Chinese and European culture. Then I discard them forthwith, saving only one total freedom.

"I really do enjoy living in Moscow But lets face it there isnt and there has never been total freedom for someone of color in this city. I like walking in the park, playing football and partying in the nightclubs, all of which are limited and one has to make careful plans and limited choices in order to indulge in any of these pursuits while in Moscow."

Indra Napit, from Bsaktapur near Katmandu, Nepal, is a postgraduate medical student at the Peoples Friendship University and has been in Moscow since December. Previously, he lived in Minsk for seven years.

"I miss the Nepali Christian songs that are usually sung in churches, accompanied by music played on locally made instruments. I have some recorded on cassettes, but watching it live is very inspiring. Its enough to give spiritual enlightenment and enrich the soul.

"I worked in a mission hospital in western Nepal for four years. It is different from Moscows hospitals it is sponsored by the churches and offers free medical treatment. My family and I enjoyed that, but now we are here and we cant afford the bills. The citys hospitals are conservative, and I am always afraid to go there. And I cant wait to be home in Nepal again."

Monica Rodth of Germany is a health worker at the German Dental Clinic.

"Its difficult to find an open-air pool or a clean spot for sunbathing.

"I can buy everything, but its just a question of money. I am from southern Germany and I like our Kaiserstuhler wine and laugenbrezel a kind of bread baked in a special way. For the past few years, I have been in Moscow and I have not seen them in the shops."