Eight weeks of training and preparations had prepared us for our mission as development workers. It was time to head on to my final destination – Nairobi, Kenya. On Sunday a group of colleagues and myself started the 3 day overland trip from Kampala to Nairobi, a distance of 900 km. We left Kampala, the green and hilly city on the shores of Lake Victoria – Africa’s biggest lake and the worlds 2nd largest fresh water lake. Our first stop was Tororo near the Kenyan border where we visited a project that will soon host a colleague of mine.
After a short stop we continued to the border at Mabala to cross into Kenya which we knew was going to take some time. Luckily even in Africa trucks on Sundays are not allowed to move so we were able to pass the never ending line of trucks.
Our next stop was Kitale, situated in the northern rift valley of Kenya. This is famers land on the foothills of Mount Elgon. The region is mainly inhabited by the Luo, the third largest ethnic group in Kenya. The landscape is characterized by green hilly farmland with Mount Elgon in the backdrop This was our first overnight stop. We stayed at the Kitale country club. A decent colonial style place.
On the following day we were invited to visit my colleagues project in Kimili a short drive outside of Kitale. We learned about the project which is mainly working with agriculture support famers and woman empowerment. A highlight was witnessing the celebration of the “Farmer of the Year” awards. Each award was presented with traditional Luo dances. We also enjoyed our first traditional Kenyan meal – Ugali (the staple food in Kenya a cornmeal dish), sukuma wiki (Colewort) and Kuku (chicken).
After lunch it was time to head on to our next overnight destination, Kisumu the third largest city in Kenya on the shores of Lake Victoria. We made a short pit-stop in Kakamega – the future project destination of one of my colleagues – before watching the sun set over Lake Victoria and spending the night next to the lake.
The last day of our road-trip would take us through diverse landscape of the great rift valley from Kisumu to Nairobi, a distance of 350km. . We passed through Nakuru home of Lake Nakuru National Park famous for its many flamingos. Then we headed on to Naivasha next to Hells Gate National Park an area known for its many flower farms and the source of most rose flowers sold on European markets. Both areas are popular weekend get-aways for Nairobians. On the way we passed by beautiful lush green tea plantations but also saw and learned about IDP camps; camps for internally displaced people within Kenya. The later being the result of local violence or natural disasters and similar to refugee camps giving shelter for those who were forced to leave their homes but within their home country Kenya.
We finally reach our destination Nairobi at around 6pm in the evening our new home where we are now staying in a catholic missionary until we have found ourselves a home.
The trip was a great way to start my journey to Kenya. I learned a lot about the country and its people while passing through some of its most populated and know areas.