The other day, I was invited to join my students on an excursion to Kakamega Forest. The highlights of the trip for me were (1) getting to sit in the front of one of the safari vans (2) dozing off as we drove and (3) crossing the equator. [I had been to Kakamega a couple of years ago...I was pretty sure that the trees had not changed too much since my last time there, but felt it would be a nice bonding experience with the students.]
After sorting out the tour guide, we congregated around some trees. I was the first to observe Colobus monkeys. [Full disclaimer: Colobus monkeys look like skunks.] To which my reaction was "Ugghh...", along with a stink face. Apparently, my reaction was well loved by two of the course assistants...in between hearty laughter, one was like, "This is gonna be the best! This is sooo not your element." I agreed but also pointed out that some monkeys can be aggressive and unpleasant. The tour guide was in full agreement with me, and proceeded to tell the group how aggressive the Colobus can be, especially those deeper in the forest. [Point 1: Nadi.]
We proceeded on the hike. And we just keep going...and going...and going. It felt like hours. Fortunately, I was not the only one feeling this way. One of the course assistants confided in me and shared that this was "not [her] thing, either"...and she was "tired of jumping over fallen trees". In return, I wondered if we had turned around enough/walked at enough of an angle to start to head towards our original starting point. And we kept going in a silent solidarity.
We eventually made it back to the starting point to the Colobus clan. I had survived. [Point 2: Nadi.]
Sadly, we were not able to venture up to the best point of Kakamega due to rains washing away the roads. [Point 1: Nature.]
This story was my long-winded way of sharing pictures of Kakamega. Knowing the above, I hope you have a little chuckle whenever you look at these and think of Nadi by Nature.
I will save the hippos for another day...
Originally written 10 June 2014.
Hippos are one of the world's deadliest animals. It never ceases to amaze and petrify me when the hippo boat tour guides here in Kisumu purposefully navigate their relatively small wooden boats TOWARDS the hippos. The last time I went for the boat ride, the guides had us maneuvering around and through a herd(?) of hippos in the water, including a protective mama hippo! I was petrified, but I got some awesome photos. Long story short, I survived. In case you were wondering, I totally have several exit/escape strategies for hippo attacks in and out of the water. Yes, they are that versatile that they wreak havoc in the water and on land!
Lastly, as many of you know, I really appreciate, dare I say -- love -- tea. The highlight of my life/this trip was a visit to a tea estate in Kericho. Per usual, I dozed off in the front seat of the safari van but was wide awake and in great form for the entire visit to the tea estate. Kericho is always lush and the estate we visited was massive (one super massive estate with nine massive sub-estates) and absolutely gorgeous. One of my students loves tea as much as I do. He and I were among the first taste testers and constantly asked our guide about job opportunities at the estate. My student was offered a taste testing position...I just got a chuckle :-/. After seeing the entire process of making tea as we know it -- from the field to the factory to the store -- my appreciation has shifted to include admiration for the thought and efforts that go towards the process. It is a tedious and labor intensive process at all levels. I would be happy to provide details/talk about it (over a cup of tea), if any of you are interested. For now, I hope you enjoy the pictures.
You know what I love more than tea, though? McVittie's biscuits AND tea! I need to get a tour at McVittie's at some point down the road...I would love for you to join me!
Originally written 22 June 2014.
I am like a breeze -- you can find me...