As I watch giraffe doing a mating dance on the lawn in front of me – I eavesdrop (okay again, I’ll admit – what else is one supposed to do when travelling alone😂)
And all the way the most common conversation between people has been climate and weather – Poles telling Israelis; Brazilians telling Germans and everywhere guides telling me ; this river used to flow; this was never a river; this lake bursts its banks 3 years ago and still the same
Whatever the experts say; the people have plenty to say about changes in our climate
I feel I have passed from the future of Africa into the past Africa when I arrived in Kenya
Uganda has a law, buda budas (motor cyclists), must use helmets; passengers didn’t need to and you could transport whatever or whoever you liked. Most obeyed the law it would appear rather than risk a fine.
Rwanda has a law that all motor cyclists must wear helmets and only one pillion rider allowed . Everyone obeyed because they believe in the law.
Plastic bags banned in both countries.
Kenya appears to have a law few worry about and weren’t concerned about being caught.
If even half the stories I have been told about the police force and government here are true, it is a sad state of affairs; ‘people’ have little confidence in either.
One example – we drove past a police recruitment drive : 1000 aspiring recruits were being put through their paces in a field alongside the main road. The only prerequisite is a ‘I have completed school certificate’ although an additional couple of thousand Kenyan shillings won’t go astray. Recently 42 new recruits after one month training, were sent to the Somali border and all were killed. It transpired that many of them had paid up
300 000 ks to the recruiters to be accepted.
It feels familiar; litter everywhere, streets dying, barbed wire and glass topped walls and for many a heart beat away from abject poverty, corruption normal in even small ways and there is a general sense of disengagement from The Country. And beautiful jacarandas.
We witnessed a hijacking on the main road in broad daylight right in front of us – won’t go into the details on fb ; but the sense of shock followed by helplessness then horror – Good Samaritans we were not 😢
And for all that I have been welcomed everywhere with smiles and a sense of good will – if also a shoulder shake of how it is. Wanted to buy a bird book – they had no change and no credit card machine today – and that’s it – broad smile but no sale.
The game parks seem to stand apart / poaching? Apparently nil ; new poaching units instructed to shoot to kill – apparently working ; zero poaching I am told although the Maasai Mara proved the exception.
The plastic water bottle : produced with enormous environmental footprint is found everywhere – I mean Everywhere. Alongside every road, in the game parks (particularly Masai Mara), in the rivers and even in the lakes 😢
How big a part the numbers game and climate plays , someone with real knowledge will tell us : Rwanda about 1/4 pop of Kenya. Rwanda and Uganda very fertile, Kenya noticeably less so.
Disclaimer : this is only my opinion based on a very short visit, observations and discussions with locals – it does not make it The Truth 😜
Italian prisoners of war built the road down the Rift Valley escarpment- an incredible engineering feat ( picture chapmans peak rd)
I have been unable to find out how many were involved or how many survived.
This has survived – a beautiful tiny church they built – only 4 pews ; a tranquil 20 minutes peace and solitude against a backdrop of frenetic traffic along what is now a major thoroughfare for trucks and cars alike
And so the end of an amazing and exhausting adventure and Home beckons
‘Home’ to friends who mean the world to me and know me to my core and still chose me. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
“Home is where the heart is”, is for me, too simplistic.
Perhaps there comes a time when one must just accept – ‘Home’ isn’t always there for everyone. Fate conspires for many, and quite arbitrarily it seems, to confound the idea of ‘Home’ – whether through physical loss or rejection .
When we look at returning to the old ‘Home’ or staying in the new, Lady Macbeth comes to mind : ‘Returning were as tedious as go o’er’; so we end up with a foot in each camp – a wobbly somewhere.
Precious memories and links to our old ‘Home’ that keep us chained by a golden thread and special loving kind friends in our new ‘Home’ where we try to create memories that are spun too of golden thread – all very fragile.
I see it in my girls, in quiet moments when the earth is still – a certain look, a longing to ‘belong’, to be part of the rituals of a ‘Home’ – celebrations, mournings, laughing, weeping. I see it and I know it – it’s been my search too.
The joy of seeing my special ‘old friends’ will always be tempered by the knowledge that I must say good bye to them again
And That sadness will be softened by the knowledge that I will see my daughters and my new dear friends
And still we’re luckier than some – I met some Rwandans who have no threads at all – who got married with strangers celebrating with them – who could not go back to visit old friends and who have to start new traditions – alone
And that’s just for starters ….. Syrians, Somalis, Iraqis, Afghanis, seems
Home is certainly not available to everyone 😥 so perhaps in this life it must be after all wherever the heart is, pending the next place of rest ❤️
Thanks Uganda , Rwanda and Kenya for a great experience