Kenya Day 15 – Final day in Nakuru

Writing my diary

Writing my diary

It’s my final day here in Nakuru and I will leave with mixed emotions. I came with no expectations and little knowledge about Kenya. I experienced a massive sense of culture shock when I first arrived but leave with an understanding of why some say Kenya is so dangerous for travellers. Don’t let that conjure images of violence, theft or corruption. No. It has been said that Kenya is dangerous because she lures you in, holds you captive and sets roots in your hear so that you might never wish to leave. And I fear this might just be true for me. But there are things I need to sort out at home and other places I need to explore before I come back.

Francis - Head of Security

Francis – Head of Security

At Gabriel’s School I am greeted like a friend. It’s hard to believe that I only met the men, women and children of this community last Monday. So welcoming have they been that it feels like months have passed. I especially like Francis, the Head of Security. We have enjoyed many long conversations about life, family, education, work and religion. I feel a deep respect for this man who speaks excellent English but still frequently says “thank you” when the required English words escape him.

Home we visited

Home we visited

Christopher and I ride off on Robert’s motorbike. Today we will visit some families who are not sponsored. These are Kaptembwa’s poor; the down and out in a community that is struggling. We sit in homes made of mud that leak in the rain and are dark, even during the day. The women we see are sick and poor with many mouths to feed. But they express such humble gratitude to us for our visit.

The lady who broke into prayer

The lady who broke into prayer

One woman bursts into prayer as Christopher gives her bags of maize flour, fat, sugar and salt. She has thirteen children but also cares for eight more. But still she is better off than most for she has a small clothes-making business and her children are in school. Many more have less and haven’t eaten in days.

"Take a pichure"

“Take a pichure”

Everywhere children call out and wave. It no longer disturbs me. I see that they just want hope, a smile and attention. It’s all any child wants. “Take a pichure. Taks a pichure.” And so I oblige. I can’t change the world but I can offer these young ones a chance to smile and laugh. And that’s exactly what they do as I show them photo after photo of their cute selves. More children come and more hilarity ensues.

Two of the children

Two of the children

Back at school the baby class children call to me. It is their lunch break and I am spotted en route to the washrooms. I sit on the ground and am swamped. Some fight for a place to sit on my knees while others play with my hair or reach out to touch my hands. Josephine from top class sees me with her brightly coloured had and assertive manner. She soon has the other girls from top class gathered round showing off as six year old girls do. Older children stop past to ask “How are you?”. Some are shy and hide when I wave or smile directly at them. I can’t help but believe some of these students will be the future leaders, not just of Kenya but also of our increasingly global world.

Robert - Head of Education

Robert – Head of Education

Esther - Office Manager

Esther – Office Manager

As I say my goodbyes I know I will be back. Probably not as a volunteer but almost certainly to visit an pay my regards to the Kenyans who have made me feel so welcome and who are changing the world one child at a time.

Christopher with his Stoney (ginger beer)

Christopher with his Stoney (ginger beer)

I have enjoyed my time in Nakuru and at Gabriel’s School. I wouldn’t say it was a holiday but it certainly was interesting, challenging and an experience I won’t easily forget. I’m ready now to go home and prepare for my next adventures. The past two weeks have shown me that the world isn’t as scary or dangerous as our Smart Traveller website makes out – we’re all just people trying to make the best of the life we’ve been given in this incarnation.

9 comments on “Kenya Day 15 – Final day in Nakuru

  1. Yes, getting up early in the hope to find another blog entry. You have captured your feelings so well. I really think you should make a booklet, even for Susan’s website, so other volunteers can read it. I also would love to have a copy. It is dear to me what you wrote.

    You must now be slowly switching from remote Africa to what’s here in your new world. How you will be going. What you will be doing. I hope that your Kenyan experience will help you cope with difficult times here, realising that it is really only a luxury problem and that difficult times are only minor in comparison with what you have seen and experienced.

    • Hey there Mum 🙂 I love that you come read and comment on my blog.

      My final few days in Kenya have brought much clarity to the next chapter in my life. I have given a lot of thought both to the immediate future and also to the next adventure. For the immediate future, communication is the key for everything: home, family, work and friendships.

      For the next adventure, I have realised that there are things I need to consider in my planning and directions. That’s why I’ve decided to start my adventures in Africa, rather than South America. I originally just chose South America because it was convenient. But I know that it will be challenging to travel there where there is no real link to people and places that I know. So I have investigated a route taking me from South Africa through Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania before arriving back in Kenya. Like Dad said to me – there needs to be a purpose, not just a bike ride. This route will give me the flexibility to decide whether to go home from Kenya or hop up to Europe where I can visit Oma and other family who I would dearly love to see. It will also allow me to explore Africa some more because I really have loved it – and I have checked the Smart Traveller website and some cycle touring sites, and the route I propose is one that is relatively safe, doable and captures the things I love most about traveling at home – wide open spaces. I feel really excited and connected to this idea because it’s a chosen adventure not an escape. It’s deliberate and feels right. The route is one that other cyclists have competed in 3-6 months without rushing, so it’s not as long as the South American option. And I love that it allows for easy connection to Holland to see Oma and others in 2015. And to finally do some bike riding there. I also like that this route feels more like one that might offer opportunities for us to spend some time traveling together in one way or another (Zanzibar, Morocco, or the Camino in Spain perhaps 😉 ). And I would be able to get by with English for the most part and have time to learn a few more Swahili words for Tanzania and Kenya (the official language of all other countries is English).

      Yes, I feel good about getting on the plane on Sunday. I will definitely miss Kenya because I have just started to fall in love with this place in a way I can’t describe. But knowing I am going to be back here next year means I can see past the next few challenging weeks and months.

      Oh, and if I come to Africa, I won’t need to carry as much winter gear as in South America 😉

  2. Sounds like kenya has had a real impact on you. I know what you mean about the people. There. Every Kenyan i have ever met is always so polite and friendly who only see the positive things in life. Reida always tries to convey what it is like there but the words are mostly lost on me. I cant wait until i can see for myself one day.

    Good on you for doing it, your blogs have been fun to read.

    • Hey dude 🙂 Thank you for reading my blogs. I am glad you enjoyed them.
      Yeah – Kenya is awesome! Of all the places I’ve traveled (not that there are many), it’s the one place that I have felt “OMG I have to go back there”. Like, I enjoyed China and the UK and Europe. But Kenya is something else and I can’t wait to explore more of Africa.

      I am looking forward to seeing you when I get home. I land at about 9pm on Monday night and have work straight away on Tuesday so will be pretty wrecked for a couple of days. But hopefully you are free on Friday night or the weekend.

  3. Hi Andrew,
    It’s fun reading your blogs and am so glad you had an amazing experience in Nakuru. Am Kenyan, and I once volunteered at Gabriel’s and I must say it was quite an experience; I can attest to what you write. I’ll tell you like chris and robert told you, karibu tena kenya. You have another family.

  4. You were well loved in Kenya. You made a difference, if only for a few weeks. You probably changed lives. Good trip! Now on to even more adventures!

    • Yep. I totally loved Kenya. Once I’ve had a chance to speak with family and friends after I get home this week, I will be able to disclose more about the next adventures that I have up my sleeve.

      But first, I arrive home at 9:10pm Monday night. Go to work at 8:30am Tuesday morning and have university classes at 6pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights this week. Am taking three subjects this semester (one more than in the past) because my trip to Kenya has highlighted for me that I want to complete my studies and my Dad has helped me recognise a way to do it and also have big adventures. At Abu Dahbi airport waiting for flight to Melbourne from where I will change to a flight home

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