KENYA

February 18, 1978


We woke up at 07:00 and after the girls annoyed me by lighting cigarettes, they impressed me when they quickly and thoroughly twisted the clothes they had washed and hung out to dry overnight once again and then put them on, still moist. It was still cold and foggy, and my sweater, jacket and new sheepskin were very welcome. We drove till 08:00, then stopped for breakfast with good eggs and tea (local?) but rather poor sausage. On the way to Kericho, we saw extensive tea plantations,and many huts and villages as well as marvelous scenic views and clouds. We also witnessed groups of women (mothers, to judge by figures and faces) doing dancing exercises in purple or orange dresses, with one leading lady in front. Some wore cone like devices strapped to their legs on which they beat rhythmically. We also saw some crested cranes.
All the time, Elizabeth and Beth sang their own missionary songs, very melodious and two-toned. It reminded me of the Krontjong songs from the old East Indies. and I wished I had brought a tape recorder. They tried to teach me some Kikuyu sentences which I would rather not reproduce, because of the giggles I caused when testing them.
They told me that the silvery plants on some plantations were pyrethrum, a kind of incense. All the trucks we overtook were smoking terribly. Suddenly, we could see Lake Victoria from up high in the mountain before we descended into the much warmer plain where I just about suffered from prickly heat. The coastal plain was somewhat like that of Thailand, with groups of huts surrounded by bush fences, depressions with ruminating buffaloes wallowing in mud, colorful masses of drying laundry, and roadside vendors and hitchhikers.

The road was poor but soon we arrived in Kisumu which looked a bit more English what with flowers, traffic circles and even a car wash. Further on, we saw the beautiful Sunset Hotel and came to a place where little boys were swimming naked, so we joined them and enjoyed the cool water which made me feel much better.
We had a late lunch in a small restaurant, and I am still finishing some of the tasty morsels of meat now that I am sitting here in the shade under a high shady tree writing my journal while waiting for two attractive hairdressers working on the hair of E and B. This cost 35 shillings.
I an wearing shorts and a red shirt and make plans to go south along the Lake for a while. It is hard to describe this tour, it is so unbelievably pleasant, what with the scenery, weather, food, but especially the people, so brotherly and friendly and "onbeschroomd" - (easy going, without false shame?). I also thought of my sister Carla, whose birthday it is to-day. Next, I bought some four animal images cut in soapstone, for about 20 shillings, and wonder about the universality of certain art forms. I also am struck by similarities between Japan and Kenya, including some of the place names on the map. A few beggars with malformed bodies made use of my tender conscience. Then I walked through a large covered market, and noted small handmade stoves, empty bottles, jars and cans, ropes and chains, fruit (smaller than that from Palestine we used to get in Kuwait), spoons, kitchen utensils, patjols, combs, baskets, dried fish galore, drugs, medicines and spices.
Then I returned to the hair dressers saloon and watched the elaborate way the hair was twisted with pieces of raft which were then formed in small bunches fringing the girls' heads. Since this took hours, I went to a gas station and filled up the car (odometer reading 14,852) with 82 shillings worth of gas, I think at 2.86 per liter - which made me think of me of ridiculous cheap rate we paid in Kuwait, i.e. 15 fils ! I also filled up our water bottles and finally, we were ready to move on, by 16:30, partly tracing back the way to Nairobi, but then turned onto A-1 through mountains with tea plantations, and then onto a sand road with some very poor spots leading to the coast of Lake Victoria. This coast was muddy and the water brown, and I took several pictures of fish drying operations, fishing nets, boats and little urchins. A schoolteacher showed off her English and us which way to go. At sunset time, I stopped at a hill and we climbed to the top to enjoy the scenery and cloudscape. We then raced on through half-dark, past round huts, sugar cane gardens till at 19:30 we reached Homa Bay, still reddish from the sunset
The half sandy half muddy main street was full of people, hotels and restaurants, but we ended up finding a 45 shilling hotel in a side street. We did go back to the main street and Brother's Hotel where we tried to eat. The lovely waitress had to send elsewhere for most of the orders, but eventually we had some good "kuku" (chicken), samosas, juicy potatoes and beer. There was one customer who was "showing off" and acted rather coarse and impolite to the waitress, but he avoided us. We finished eating around 21:00 and went to our own hotel, where we had to ask for a bucket of water so we could wash our clothes. After the ritual clothes washing and wringing we retired.


Let me help you but please pay
Homa Bay by
Jecloosey

BLO fecit 20070721 - 1978 TOUR - previous page - next page