Well, I was wrong about the two day drive, though it would have taken me twice (or 3 times) as long to drive it. We traveled over 600 km today, with nearly half that off the pavement on roads like I’ve only gone off-roading on for sport. I would have really enjoyed the road in my Scout when I had it, but no way could I have run it as fast as the driver did in that Land Rover. (and the Land Rover is unlike anything they sell in the U.S.) Anyway, we’re at the camp, I’m in my cabin which is quite nice except it has no outlets which doesn’t matter because they only have electricity for a few hours in the evening anyway, when they turn it on from the batteries from the solar charger. Also, I have NO connectivity… phone or Internet… as Airtel apparently has no coverage up here. Safaricom has a nearby tower and has a great signal, but my phone won’t log onto that network, otherwise I would use it for email. I’m going to have to write things here, save them to my jump drive and send them from Stakwell’s computer… if possible. (I haven’t talked to him about that yet.)
I didn’t fully understand what was happening with transportation either. The guy who drove us up in his car, Leonard, took us to a town just past where the pavement ends on the “highway” to Ethiopia. Trucks were coming through, with armed guards riding on top, and that is considered the highway. Of course, the paved part of it wasn’t much better, we were slowed down to 10-20 sometimes just picking our way through the holes. So, at that non-town at the end of the world, Stakwell’s wife, Fransesca, was awaiting us with the two guys that drove her over there. And then we swapped. Fransesca and a sister (with a tiny baby) got in with Leonard to ride to Nairobi where they are attending a conference and we got in the Land Rover and headed out across nowhere for hundreds of miles. But our driver (that’s his fulltime job, I believe, driving the Land Rover) drove that road like it was a LeMans race course. Seriously, he was running 80-90 kph part of the time, then having to brake hard for a tight curve or to pick his way across a washout, then accelerating hard to get back to speed. For the first hour I thought perhaps he was just trying to scare me; see if I would scream. Then I realized he just enjoyed driving and he was attacking the road out of sheer pleasure. I hadn’t noticed when we were in that small town before getting in the truck what I saw when we got here… he is crippled in his left foot and walks with difficulty, his foot turns under even with a corrective shoe. So, perhaps the pleasure he gets out of driving is because he doesn’t enjoy walking. I visited with him about it once we were here and he was cleaning the truck and he does enjoy driving. I tell you, I had to hang on as he took the curves… I couldn’t snap a photo if I wanted to.
I’ve seen lots of wildlife today, but no elephants or giraffes yet. Lots of ostrich, antelope, guineas, jackals, monkeys (lots of monkeys and jackals around the town) and one really big male baboon. Bigger and prettier than any I’ve ever seen. But then the first big ostrich we saw was way beyond anything I’ve ever seen in a zoo or ostrich farm. And birds… unbelievable number and variety of birds. But more than anything else, was goats! Next was camels, then cattle… though the Samburu cattle are quite small. They look like diminutive brahmas.
Stakwell’s laying down resting… I don’t think he got hardly any sleep last night and of course, couldn’t sleep on the drive. We picked up the girls at the school then came here and he had the manager take me to my cabin and he went to shower and “rest” and is still “resting”. J
I had a shower and changed shirts and cleaned my pants the best I could with a wet cloth… we made that long desert drive with windows down and sometimes we were in 12” of DUST, not sand, dust. And it would just boil up around and in even when we cranked the windows up before having to slow down in the deep stuff. I don’t know how to describe the ride, but I loved it and you would have hated it! J
I was a little struggling with the “desert” aspect of this country and then ¼ mile before hitting South Horr we dropped off into a river bottom and everything was green and lush with a small cool river running through it. The town is scattered along the river for over half a mile and is very quiet except for the chattering of children, the sounds of chickens and birds, occasional cattle bawling… restful beyond description.
I’m frustrated that I don’t have connectivity… and apparently won’t all week… but, this is Africa. Stakwell knew he had great reception and doesn’t realize I don’t. Obviously, he is on Safaricom… and I should be! But Nanyuki was the last place I could have bought a SIM card or time and that is 9 hours away driving like crazy, so I just have to accept what is. I will still make every effort to contact you each day, using Stakwell’s computer or phone.
I think you would love it here, you would like the cabin even without any electricity other than a light for 2 hours in the evening. I’ve taken photos and you will see. And I’m not in the facilities I thought I was going to be where I would be using community showers and restroom; I have my own private, very nice, shower and restroom. I’m pretty sure I’m staying in JL’s cabin. It has 3 full size beds and the décor is exceptional…obviously done by one of the ladies.
Okay, correction, I’m using Peter’s Safaricom moden because Stakwell apparently never woke up. J
I’m about to head to bed but wanted to get this letter to you.
Jack was raised in a Christian home where he spent his youth preparing to preach God’s word. First published at thirteen, writing and speaking became Jack’s passions. Whether through newspaper columns, magazine articles, radio broadcasts or public speaking engagements, Jack continues to share his heart with his readers. His life’s motto: To Know God, and To Show Him To Others.