We get another exciting update direct from Kenya thanks to our National Citizen Service Co-Ordinator, Vicki Burton.
Day 2 and so far, so good!
Last night (Tuesday) we arrived at the Wida Hotel, our temporary accommodation, and got settled into our rooms just after midnight. Unfortunately, I had a broken bed but I couldn’t be bothered to complain so I just slept on it, or at least tried to!
We met for breakfast at 9am and checked out of our rooms so that we could depart for Nakuru as soon as we had finished eating. Breakfast was interesting; fruit, cereals and bread plus potatoes, sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables and gizzards, which are apparently the innards of a chicken. There were also these doughnut-type things which were lovely with strawberry jam! The toilets next to the restaurant shocked us; just seats built into the floor! This was a really luxury hotel for the area, or so we were told.
After breakfast we set off to our destination for the rest of the trip. After an hour or so of driving, we reached the Rift Valley Viewpoint where we had the opportunity to take some amazing photographs. The best photo we got shows the group with the Rift Valley in the background, but unfortunately Luke isn’t on it as, at 6 foot 6, he was the only one tall enough to take the picture! There were lots of locals at the viewpoint and we weren’t sure why, until we went into the craft store and they all followed us in trying to encourage us to buy the products. There were some amazing things in the shop including statues, bracelets and paintings, but Leah told us we would have other opportunities to buy similar things during the trip.
We boarded the buses for the next leg of the journey and after an hour we reached Buffalo Mall, a gated shopping centre with armed guards. We stocked up on water and snacks and had a quick toilet stop. Meanwhile Ellie H, Louise, Amy and Paige got a portion of chips (anyone would think they didn’t enjoy their breakfast!).
Our bus driver Simon was really friendly and taught us a lot about Kenya and the way of life. He pulled the bus over at the side of the road and took some carrots out of the glove compartment and we fed baboons outside the bus window! It was quite surreal. We also saw a building with scaffolding erected around it. The scaffolding was made from branches and reached over ten stories high!
We learnt a lot about money and class as we drove past people, both adults and children, trying to make money by selling apples and toilet roll to commuters in the middle of the main roads. The people here work so hard for so little but still seem to be really happy. Simon himself earns around £3.50 per day but still pays for his two eldest children to go to school as he said the government schools are so poor for education. He also pays about £2 per month for health insurance for his family; without it he said it’s pretty much impossible to get any proper treatment for anything. We left him a tip when we reached our destination which probably equated to about a week’s wage for him but I think he was most pleased with the gift we gave him for his eldest son, a football mad 12 year old who will now be running around the fields of Nakuru in his new Hartlepool United strip pretending to be Michael Woods while his friends are Ronaldo and Victor Wanyama!
We drove for about another hour and passed zebras, goats, a dead dog on the side of the road, more baboons and some chickens. It began to rain and thunder really heavily, just like being at home! The roads here aren’t great, there’s a lot of potholes and no road markings, people just drive wherever they can, roughly keeping to the correct side but overtaking where possible on single carriageways. There were people fixing the roads on the way; lots of men and women dressed in normal clothing and shoes with hi-vis vests on, using very basic tools.
Just before we reached our hotel there was a huge, brand new KFC to everyone’s delight! We then drove down a mud track full of huts and reached some metal gates with more guards who let us through and into our hotel grounds. We checked into our rooms which took a while. Taking 28 suitcases up to the fourth floor with only one small lift available was more time consuming than we thought!
We then had lunch: rice and beef (I think!) with watermelon and pineapple for afters. After that we had some time to relax with the group choosing to unpack, shower, sleep or make some phone calls home. After that we played a football match (boys vs girls) and made a friend called Collins. He’s Kenyan but had a Northern Island shirt on and played football with bare feet! He’s only 18 but works for African Adventures; there’s another group here from a college in England who he is looking after.
We sat around and played some cards while Ellie and Taylor tried to teach Yazmin how to cartwheel! We then had tea which was a bit like Spaghetti Bolognese with some potato wedges and it went down so well with the group that nearly everyone went for seconds.
After tea we had an orientation meeting with Leah and Fred and they went through some more information about our trip, Nakuru and other things we need to know and should expect during our stay.
Now we’re chilling in our beds with our mosquito nets drawn, watching the Liverpool vs Man City match!