What a fun morning! I spent a good couple of hours on the back of a pikky pikky (motorbike) traveling around Nakuru, the slums and surrounding farmland.
There was a purpose to the riding. Some readers might remember that last year my family raised money to buy some farm land so that the Nakuru Hope Project can grow food to feed the children, hence reducing their operational costs. As part of that fundraising, I cycled 100km every day for 31 days in my self-devised challenge, Cycling for Hope. Today, we went to see the plot of land for the first time. The plot is about 4 acres of land that slopes gently down from the road to a flat area. It has a big hole in it where the government dug soil for use in the road construction where banana trees might be planted in future.
The land is a little way from the school so Christopher organised a pikky pikky driver and borrowed the head master’s motorbike so that the three of us could travel there. I rode with Christopher along roads that were almost reminiscent of motocross tracks with lumps, bumps, washouts and holes. We rode through the slums and then down country roads between farmland. Luckily for me, Dad forgot his Spot tracker with which he wanted to mark the exact location of the land so I had to go to Rosemary’s Guesthouse to collect it and then head back out to the land. This meant I had more time to see Nakuru go by from the back of the motorbike.
I saw a lot while on the bike:
There is a river near the edge of the Kaptembwa slums where women was clothes and collect drinking water. The water looks disgusting but people here are desperate so they are willing to risk contracting typhoid instead of dying of thirst.
All over the slums and their outskirts, you can see people waiting to buy water. When the drums in the carts are full, the men wobble all over the road trying to pull them. Often just one skinny man will maneuver a whole cart on his own while wearing little more than a pair of thongs (flip flops).
Bikes are also used to transport water. I can’t imagine being strong enough to shift these heavy loads.
Fruit stalls are a common source of income here. Bananas and avocados are in season so there are plenty for sale. Bananas sell for about KSh5 each (5c Australian or US). It seems that women sell them in stalls while men sell them from wheelbarrows that they push around the slums. This morning we bought 100 bananas for the school, which caused quite some excitement among the banana seller and his friends.
I saw lots of men going about their work sitting, standing or hanging off the back of trucks and utes. These rubbish collectors called out telling me to take a photo of them, so I did.
Out near the land we rode past the mud huts that many farmers live in. They are simple structures that have no electricity or running water. Some are in better shape than others but I can’t really imagine any of them are terribly comfortable (especially not with the mosquitoes buzzing around at night).
And everywhere we went, small children waved and called out “Mzungu how are you?”. Some were tiny things no more than 3-4 years old. I just hope there’s enough money coming into the slums so that these little ones can also go to school and have a future.
I caught a podi podi back from the shops this afternoon. We rode headlong into peak hour traffic on the wrong side of the road. It was totally exhilarating and definitely good value for money if it were to be compared with the cost of entry to an amusement park.
I find myself very much falling in love with Kenya. I love the madness, the people and the landscapes I am seeing. I am already considering altering my cycling route to fly to Africa after South America instead of North America.