A Journey To Western Kenya

December 4, 2013

I left a moderate Mlambenyi and arrived in a very hot Mombasa. The weather has really changed during all those weeks I have stayed away. Standing in shadow still makes people sweat. This weather is not good for someone who is used to the cold.

Going through a disappointment with someone I thought is a friend but apparently wanted something else from me, I was happy to leave Mombasa to start a long (19 hours) bus-ride to Kakamega.

I was accompanied by another volunteer. The first thing we saw as something significant in that city was the Christmas-decoration on a mall. Wow. Imagine – you stand there, sweating from too much heat and then the first reminder – it’s Christmas-time!

After bargaining with some motorbike-drivers, we got our lift to the Kakamega-Rainforest. Immediately after entering, we felt cold. It is a big preserved rainforest with many species of plants, birds, butterflies and animals. We started walking early the next morning. When we reached the top of a small mountain, I was able to see the most-amazing breathtaking sunrise, I have ever seen. I couldn’t stop staring. Looking down on that wide forest with mist all over and the sound of a waterfall somewhere down there, the sun changes its color slowly from a colour-range of purple-pink-red, orange-yellow. And the whole environment changes its color as well. This really is a unique experience and I am thankful to have seen this.

We then went back to Kakamega, to find a Matatu taking us to Kisumu. Kisumu is the third-biggest city in Kenya, but it is a sleepy town. There is not much going on, except of some Tuk-Tuks you won’t hear much noise and you might be fooled into believing you are on coast. It was hot and seeing lake Victoria already from far, you just feel like this is an ocean.

The lake is huge. And Kisumu is only on a small part of that lake. We saw people washing themselves, their clothes and their cars in that lake. No wonder the water is dirty. We could see some hippos but not much activity. The water is brown and not inviting for a swim. We didn’t dare. We just enjoyed the view and after staying one night, went on to Kericho.

Kericho is Kenyas Tea-Heart. Kenya is number three in Tea-exporting countries. It’s almost enough to just pass Kericho without a stop. You can see the big tea-plantations all over. Everything in a fresh green. This place has the perfect weather-conditions for growing tea.

The staff doesn’t live in good conditions. Their housing is as simple as having one room without electricity or water. The tea-pluckers get 8 Shillings per KG. Expected is a minimum of 30 KG per day. Some people are able to pluck up to 100 KG in a day! After 15 days, the area is ready to be plucked again, meaning the plucking-cycle never stops.

This tea is growing here since the 1940’s and it’s still a growing business. One company is able to produce about 300.000 KG of Tea in one day. It’s unbelievable…

We also visited the biggest Sikh-Temple in Africa. Kericho has many Indians. It was awkward to enter that place. A Sikh welcomed us and ushered us into a hall with tables. After we had to cover our hair, he served us with very tasty Indian food. We were confused because no one informed us about what is happening. The whole time we were eating, somebody watched us.

The moment our plate was empty, they took us to their prayer-halls and showed us a room where they display the Temple’s history. It seemed interesting but the whole time we had a weird feeling. Good that we left immediately that person released us. He started showing obvious behavior. It seemed he missed the company of a lady. We felt relived being outside, where a very old man greeted us, asking, how we find the Temple. We smiled and left. Not everything is good about people who are “too holy”.

 

The journey back was long and tiresome. We reached hectic Mombasa early in the morning.


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