You know when it’s coming to the end of a trip away when you run out of toothpaste. You hoped you’d packed just enough to see you through. And now you’re squeezing out those final few drops just as we are desperately trying to winkle out of Kenya anymore of its magic before we leave for home.
Here’s some of my highlights and what I’ll miss the most from what has been the best trip I’ve ever been on…
Fresh juicy mangoes
This fruit is everywhere. Unlike at home the mangoes are lovely and juicy, full of flavour, even spicy to our mild British palate.
The brilliant night sky with the bright moon and sparkling stars
When darkness falls Africa is lit up by a blanket of dazzling stars. I’m convinced the night sky is darker here and the moon so much bigger and brighter. In Merti we were treated to a vast expanse of stars all around us with the occasional shooting star mesmerising our senses.
African hospitality and their laugh
One of our drivers Tobias said to us it was in some cases a weakness that Africans are so hospitable the productivity slides. For me it’s been a joy to meet so many people of different backgrounds who are united in generosity and love to all visitors. Some communities trekked for hours in the heat just to spend a few minutes with us.
The African laugh is also so deep and hearty. Sr Josephine in particular has an infectious laugh that comes from deep within her. African culture at its best.
African food (and their appetite)
I’m right at home when it comes to delicious food and plentiful portions. Kenyans aren’t shy in piling their plates with mountains of food, demolishing it, and going back for more. We’ve all enjoyed sukumawiki, ugali and those juicy mangoes.
Karen (the Sisters and the Sacred Heart Convent)
The Sacred Heart convent now feels like our spiritual home which says it all. It’s been our sanctuary in the midst of so many different experiences. It has allowed us space to reflect and pray in peaceful surroundings. And the Sisters have been so welcoming and helpful providing us with all we needed and nice ‘home – y’ touches like a bowl of fruit after our week in Kitui.
Whether it’s a small tortoise crossing the road or coming face to face with the King of the Jungle we’ve been privileged to see Kenya’s amazing animals. The elegant giraffes and striking zebras were truly stunning. But to be up close and personal with a mighty lion was an awesome experience and one I’ll never forget.
All the children we’ve met have been so inquisitive and excitable about seeing the mzungu. They have a definite stock phrase to greet us Brits. “‘Ello!‘Ow are you?” said in the most adorable accent. The school children in particular were a joy to work with and so enthusiastic to learn.
Mass and Fr Paul
We’ve all been overwhelmed by the stunning celebration of Mass in Kenya. It’s so vibrant, colourful and always jam packed with people. The singing, the dancing – it’s been an amazing experience. Fr Paul is also a fantastic, charismatic priest who has a real affinity with the congregation. His smile could lighten even the darkest place and his homily’s have everyone hanging on each word.
The sounds of the birds in the morning
There’s something profoundly beautiful yet simple about getting up early here. As the sun begins to rise effortlessly once more there’s a lovely moment of stillness in the cool freshness of the morning. Add to this the bird song and it’s a heavenly scene. So many varieties of birds chirping and tweeting in different tones and pitches – it’s really quite melodic and therapeutic to listen to.
The different smells from the trip
The onions growing in the fields gave off a delicious aroma. Then there’s the sizzling goat choma compared to the freshness of the morning air. Our nostrils have been treated to many new and exciting smells.