Monday, December 7, 2009
What a day! Monday is a “rest” day. We got up early, had breakfast, packed a lunch, and walked to the car wash about a block away, to pick up the van. Then we headed for the hills to visit one of the parks here in Kenya. The park is only about 1 hour 15 minutes African time, or 2 hours real time, away. It was a nice drive and we enjoyed the scenery as we went from green landscape to the semi arid lands of the foothills of some mountains I don’t know the name of.
On the way we passed a field of Sisal plants. George told us how the plants were used to make materials for mattresses, couches, twine and such things. We came to a factory and decided to stop and see. We took some pictures as we toured the area, observing the step by step process of turning green plants into a useful material to be shipped to England. George knew about this because his parents had worked on a Sisal farm. We went a little further down the road and stopped for a picture of us standing on the equator.
Back on the road again when suddenly an Ostrich darted across the road we were traveling on. We almost hit it! George pulled over so we jumped out of the van and got some pictures. What a huge bird! We found out they run wild in the area.
We arrived at our destination and entered the National Reserve Park heading towards the Hot Springs. The road ran alongside the lake and all along the way there were wild animals to be seen. Flamingos lined the shores of Lake Bogoria. We saw wild warthogs, impalas, hawks and eagles flying low and perching in the trees, and big squirrels. We knew we were in the wild when we saw a dead zebra lying in the open. Noah found a horned skull which he will bring home for public viewing. I, on the other hand, collected a few pink feathers, left on the beach by clueless flamingos.
Picnic with the boys: Now they are not boys but I often feel like the mom so I think that way. I have enjoyed being with these men of God - General, leading out through the wilderness of Christianity, culture and foreign countries; Captain, doing his best to follow; and Jerogi learning all about the Way. We parked the van and got out at the hot springs area. We enjoyed the sauna with other local, and not so local tourists. By now we were pretty hungry so we went to the picnic area. Almost flat rocks served as a picnic table.
As soon as we popped the top off our Stoneys, our favorite ginger ale, the flies took up the invitation to join us. But we were hungry enough to perservere. Joel and I made some sandwiches. We discovered if we kept moving and ate and drank fast enough the flies didn’t have a chance. So we gulped it all down and headed back for home.
But not without another surprise adventure. I guess that is what makes adventures… surprise, unkown territory, danger, sweat (lots of sweat on this one), and tears. After about 30 minutes traveling down the road the van stopped running. No big deal. George is a mechanic, he can fix the problem. Hum… a mechanic without tools can’t do much. He tried though, using a butter knife we brought for our picnic. He wasn’t able to get very far into the engine without a wrench. Meanwhile we were visited by some neighborhood boys who were no help at all but seemed to enjoy the destraction to an otherwise boring day for them. It was obvious to all that without tools we weren’t accomplishing anything so George hitched a ride to town. He had already told us we were 40 minutes from the nearest town so here we were 3 mzungus stranded on the side of the road in the bush country. That practically means no trees for shade and no people visible anyway. We knew they were out there somewhere but unseen. It was day time so we didn’t sense any danger but wondered where George went. Then we saw another car come from the direction George went in. The car stopped a little ways past the van, George got out. They seemed to be looking in the trunk for tools or something so we felt relieved….. but…. He never came to the van, he just got back into the car and left in the opposite direction. (It seems that there was a town about 10 minutes away in that direction so George decided to go that way instead of the 40 minute town in the direction we were headed. He is so smart.) Ok, we know from experience that informing us of his intentions is not something George does. He assumes we know he is wisely taking care of us, and he usually is. So we weren’t even worried yet. We settled in for the wait….. which we do a lot of waiting here anyway so we are pretty good at it….I took the back seat and stretched out to rest, Joel laid down on the floor and Noah walked around carrying his big walking stick. He reminded me of the massi warriors, protecting the tribe:-) I dozed off in the back seat of the oven - I mean - van. It was so HOT! The side windows and side door were open but not much air was coming through. Finally George returned with two mechanics. They began to work and quickly diagnosed the problem. As they were working it occurred to me that maybe if we opened the back door it would help with the heat. So I asked if that would be possible. Noah went to the back and opened the door. Immediately a cool breeze filled the van. Now why didn’t anyone think of that before? How refreshing! Alas, cooling off only made us aware of how thirsty we were. We had each brought one water bottle and drank it all on the way there so there was not a drop left. We had asked George to bring water back from his search for a mechanic, but he was anxious about us sitting on the side of the road and forgot to get it. The mechanics fixed the problem, as described by Joel in his blog, and we were on our way. Our mission now was to find water. We drove for a good while asking every few minutes, “when do you think we will get water?” “Not long” said George. Uh is that real time or African time the mzugus wondered. It seemed like a long time but it really wasn’t. We took a side road and found a little town full of interesting sites. Now interesting sites in Kenya means interesting people. Noah got a picture of the most interesting one which I’m sure he will share with you. It seemed to take longer than usual to get water but soon George showed his smiling face with 4 one and a half liter bottles of ice cold water!! George drank his down because driving here takes both hands on the wheel at all times. Then we were off.
We thanked God for leading George to help and for the good timing of the van breaking down. - It could have been into the night time with darkness and malaria infested mosquitos feasting on us.- We reached Nakuru at about 5pm, picked up Nelly and came home to the aroma of Morella’s fine cooking.
We all slept well that night. Thankful to be safe in our beds dreaming of natural saunas in the wilderness and how to stay out of hot wate.