A couple of weeks ago (I’m a little behind on my blog) I traveled North from Nairobi to a little town called Naro-Moru at the base of Mount Kenya. Nderitu, a Kenyan friend living in Boulder operates a safari company in the area and invited me to stay at his home over the weekend. I also got to meet with a lady named Christine who works for a flower farm in Nanyuki. Greenhouse farming for export is prevalent in the region and I thought it would be a good chance to learn some more about the industry.
On Friday I traveled to downtown Nairobi and hopped on a matatu that would take me to Naro-Moru. Total cost for a two-hour matatu ride? $5. In exchange, I had engine heat blowing at my legs so I arrived a little sweaty.
Christine picked me up from downtown Naro-Moru and we proceeded to her house on the craziest road I have ever been on. They needed a souped up four-wheel drive Toyota Land Cruiser just to make it home every day. When we arrived, Christine told me their home is run on solar power because it’s off the beaten track and the government won’t pay for electric lines. It was a cool experience, talking for hours instead of watching TV, eating fresh picked food and going to bed early.
In the morning I walked around their beautiful forested property for a while before hiking to Nderitu’s house. His house was supposedly just a short walk down the trail and my guide assured me he knew where we were going. After 3 hours of crossing the river over fallen trees, ducking through thick brush, passing lots of cows and not having a clue where we were going, we finally found a trail that led to the small village where we were headed.
To my surprise, when I arrived at Nderitu’s house I was greeted by a bunch of white people! They were a group of Canadian tourists volunteering with Developing World Connections, an organization providing international volunteer experiences. They had worked on a water project in the area over the last couple of weeks and were having a celebration meal on their last day. They also brought adjustable eyeglasses so people from the community came, got their eyesight tested and received glasses.
After the event, I even went to their hotel and had dinner with them, sharing stories about Kenya and remembering different cultural experiences. The day turned out completely different from my expectations. In Africa, you expect the unexpected and very often it turns out much better than you could have hoped.