After working tirelessly for the first four days on the project in Nairobi, the team had earned a well deserved rest for a couple days. We we all so very excited as it was the first year of trying something new with World of Difference, a day on Kenya’s second largest freshwater lake ( the first being Lake Victoria), Lake Naivasha.
It was also my first time in sleeping in what I would deem as “Hostel” conditions. It was a little house built with four bedrooms, each room accommodating six people, on bunk beds. There were twenty three of us.
I didn’t mind the size of the beds since I’m a small guy myself. Taller people had it a little rough though, especially if they were on the bottom bunk, like my brother. There was only one bathroom per room, and the door didn’t lock, and the sink was in the bedroom instead of in the bathroom itself. I just remembered the conditions at the work project, in the slums, even in the other place we were staying in Nairobi, and was just fine with the accommodations. It’s all about perspective. I had shelter, warmth, and food. We felt lucky.
The living room was full of couches and the food served was really good, it tasted like home cooking, which is a nice comfort when you are halfway around the world from your family.
After settling in, we headed over the Lake. As you drive to the shore, it feels like a mini safari, seeing giraffe’s, zebras, wildebeest and gazelles in between acacia trees.
As we get loaded into the skiffs, I see a local fisherman going out, living off the land.
Seeing families of hippos, ears and eyes above the calm water’s surface is exhilarating and unnerving simultaneously. The beauty of thousands of African birds are everywhere, mixed in with creatures only found in this land. The guide stops the skiff and bird calls to an eagle high above in a tree. The bird swoops down from the tree, eyeing for a fish, cruising along the water with focus and precision until it reaches for it’s prey.
We stop to find we aren’t back at the same place we left our vans. Dacointajew, or “John” as he said his nickname was, tells us will be going on a “nature walk” back to our vans. As we pass zebra and giraffe, and a herd of wildebeests, I pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. A loud thunderous clack in the sky brings me back to reality, but only the reality that we are going to get wet. Really wet.
The dark clouds move with lightning quickness, then open upon us.
We see the carcass of a gazelle. I realize that we need to get moving, as the rain drops feel like the size of baseballs, and start to sting the skin. The thunder spooks the wildebeests, who start to run directly in front of us toward shelter. It’s an amazing sight and sound.
The dirt quickly turns to mud, and our feet are slipping and sliding as we run. We see our vans racing toward us, comically avoiding the animals and bouncing along the terrain.
As we all make it safely to the vans, my heart is racing and I can feel the rush of the day coursing through my body. I’m so alive. I like to think we all felt the same way.
As we are driving back, the road becomes a river, with debris cascading down the former road with reckless abandon. Flashes of the movie Jurassic Park enter my mind, inserting Africa’s wild animals instead of dinosaurs.
The van surprises us all, and we climb the road river with no problems, and live to tell about another amazing day in Kenya.