By Derrick Koome
The excursion to Ndeiya was one of a kind, to say the least. It was an event that followed two others which had taken place the previous night: a barbecue and a get-together with Silvano Borruso on the Battle of Lepanto.
A section of students from the University of Nairobi had just completed their end of semester examinations and wanted to clear their minds by ‘hammering’ some meat with vengeance, coming from the draining effect that the exams had had on them.
Some of us had slept over at Satima Study Centre where the barbecue and get-together had taken place so that we would set off for the excursion soon after Holy Mass the next morning, being a Sunday. During the Meditation preached by Father JP, there were numerous interruptions from rumbling stomachs (no mentioning of names here). It was enough evidence that the barbecue was splendid.
After breakfast, the eight of us who were to go for the excursion picked our packed lunches (packos) and set off for the matatu terminus. We got a fair bargain after numerous consultations and disagreements with the matatu crew. Some of the drivers were agitated by the fact that we chose to use a matatu that had jumped the queue. Moses did all the talk since it was all done in his native Kikuyu language. When the deal was settled, we boarded the matatu and set off. I sat next to the door, so it was quite inevitable that I had to do all the makanga stuff.
One and a half hours later we arrived at Ndeiya, which is a remote place in Limuru. We had engaged several kilometers from the main tarmac road and the driver was a bit agitated that the place was a bit too far for the deal we had settled with him. Notwithstanding, he promised to come pick us up after the excursion was over. Now it was time to cover some serious mileage on foot. On the way, we admired the scenery, talked about current news, emerging issues and said the Angelus at midday.
A little while later we arrived at some hills that were strewn with rocks, big and small, as well as pebbles. On top of those hills you could see as far as the leeward side of Mt. Longonot as well as the satellite station at its foot. We thought we had walked long enough when Moses pointed in some direction. “That is our destination,” he said while still pointing in the same direction. We thought he was joking but he didn’t look like he had a sense of humor at the time. You should have seen the expression on Oscar’s face!
We began descending the hill. Yes, we started the excursion by going down the hill, quite the opposite of what most people do! It was quite steep and one had to be careful not to slip because of the loose pebbles. Some guys occasionally drew their water bottles from their packos and quenched the thirst that was already building up in them. We seemed to be getting along fine, save for Mutemi, who was lagging a little behind. When asked whether he was alright, he gave a thumbs-up and we rested easy. The march continued.
Soon the downhill was over and we got to a fairly level ground which was an easy feat compared to the downhill. Half an hour later we arrived at our destination. It was a deserted diatomite quarry that had some caves but not the creepy ones that you see in horror movies. I could not wait to take some photos of the place and of the guys to show how exhausted they were. We withdrew to a selected cave and opened our packos after saying the grace before meals. We enjoyed very much what was in the packos. After the meal, we did a few minutes of mental prayer with someone reading from a book. We would have loved to stay longer, perhaps spend the night in the caves for the night, had the clouds not started gathering.
We walked as fast as our tired legs could carry us so that the rain which was already falling in the horizon would not get us far from the main road. The task that lay ahead was immense, uphill! Going straight up seemed impossible, so we arrived at a consensus that we would meander uphill to make the journey less tiring. It was really hard going up and we had to take abrupt breaks to catch our breaths. When we got to the top, my goodness! It was windy. Everybody put on their jumpers and sweaters because it was getting cold. One downhill and uphill later, we arrived at the top and briefly waited for the amateur excursionists. We continued walking after we had performed a head count and made certain that Mutemi was there. He was present, thank God!
We recited the Rosary as we walked to the point where the matatu had dropped us. The driver came back to pick us as promised. He was in a pleasant mood. We travelled back to Nairobi safely where the driver dropped each one of us at his desired drop-off point.
Well, that pretty sums up the excursion at Ndeiya. If am asked to describe how it was in one word, I would say adventurous. You should not miss the next one. Check the notice board at Satima Study Centre!
Derrick is a 2nd year BSc. (Geospatial Engineering) student at the University of Nairobi.