Sunday, 24 May 2009

Trip to Kenya May 2009 Part One

13/5/09 Wednesday
I was not in the mood. I couldn’t say that I was ready to go. Nothing was packed properly and I had doubts that my luggage weight was close to the upper limit for the trip. But finally, I closed my suitcase and backpack hoping that I was somewhere close.

At the airport, my fears were realised, in a way. My suitcase was over limit but I was allowed two pieces of hold luggage, and the rucksack could take more, if only I could cram it in. I did.
The plane was an Airbus A340, which is not the most comfortable I have ever flown in, but the ticket was the cheapest on offer, so I put up with the discomfort. At least I had the double seat to myself – the plane was only about one third full.

14/5/09 Thursday
We arrived in JKIA somewhat early, but immigration took longer as there were extra forms to fill is due to swine flu. On the upside, visas are now cheaper by £10, and eventually, I got to the bit I always hate, Customs. I always seem to be carrying something a bit dubious. The last trip it was several mobile phones which were donated in the UK to be sold in Kenya to raise money for the orphanage.

This time, it was seed. We want to grow vegetables on the plot and I know that the branded seed in the UK is of good quality.

I need not have worried, I just walked through.

But that is where the worries started. I could not see Vincent, who was supposed to meet me.
I bought some currency, a SIM card and some cell phone credit and got the guy in the phone shop to get it all going for me. Then I phoned Vincent – his phone was unavailable!

I wandered around the airport for a while and tried again. I was luckier this time and he assured me that he would be with me shortly – obviously a Kenyan shortly.
I went to the café and had breakfast.

Eventually Vincent arrived and we took a taxi into Nairobi. Working on past experience, I had a good look over all the shuttles waiting to go to Kisii. I did not like the first two in the rank, so we plumped for the third. I would not take long for the ones in front to fill up and go – I was wrong. We left Nairobi at about 13.00, but my choice of vehicle was good, the suspension still worked and it was quite a comfortable ride.

In the Rift Valley, the weather let loose and the heavens opened. Roads quickly flooded and we weaved left and right between ponds in the road.

We eventually arrived in Kisii after dark, and here was another shock. Vincent and Abigael had moved house and the new one is bigger and better, but to get to it involved negotiating a very steep, wet, slippery, muddy, downhill slope in the dark, carrying luggage. I failed at the first fence, so to speak, and crashed into a wall. But after a couple more undignified slides, we reached the bottom of the slope. Here I was confronted with a raging torrent of a river, to be crossed on a rickety, home-made wooden bridge that swayed and bent under my weight. Then a scrabble up the other side of the valley to a rather comfortable little house in a row of three, and with electricity!

After a clean-up, a change of clothes, something to eat and drink, we went through the clothes that had been donated to the orphanage.

I wanted Vincent and Abigael’s two daughters to benefit, as well as Benta and Josephat, two of the Twiga kids lodged with them.

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