The excursion was too too good. We left Nairobi by van; Alfred was the driver and the radio dj, at least on that day, was John Ndungu(aka JD). We were nine in total [Mauritio(Maurice), Santino(the latino), Bernard(the energetic), JD, Cosi (Cosmas), Leonard(the doc), Pato, Victor (the victorious) and I]. We arrived at Hells Gate around 6pm.
The mood in the air was inviting and one could, from the gate of Hells Gate(no pun intended), feel one with the environment. As expected, since it was 6pm, we were able to see many animals. We spotted a heard of Buffaloes, Gazelles, Zebras and few Warthogs. We arrived the camp site around 6.15pm and pitched tent. Let truth be told, some people were bila clue(clueless) about pitching a tent. Some were about to go for branches to support the tents. Fortunately enough, we had our Presidential’s Awards superintendent-JD. It was just amazing, within no time the tents were up and we started preparing for dinner. I think dinner needs a whole paragraph.
Anyway, the menu was similar to the one you get when one goes to the Hilton or Hotel 680. We had biriani(I am not going to translate this word), pilipili thungu(as coasterians like referring to the word chungu), nyama(at least 3 kilos), tomatoes, potatoes, onions na kadhalika. Few jamaas, two people especially (names withheld for security reasons), already had their eyes popping out. Now, since we decided we did not have any dice, we decided to cast lots to see who is going to be the chief chef. The expressions at this time were hilarious. Victor was looking towards the Geo Thermal station, Mauritio pretended he was calling someone and the rest, well, they decided they would have none of it (just joking). JD then decided, wacha niwaonyesha vile vyakula mle pwani vinaandaliwa. The rest, since may be they had no clue, had little clue, tired or did not want to cook, decided, let us see how this coasterian is going to andalia the food for us.
JD being JD decided to delegate cooking tasks. Some people decided to show their skills in washing utensils, others in cutting the mboga(vegetables), others in collecting firewood, while others were very keen observers. Here I would like to mention something- some people started complaining because the weather was ‘cold’. We decided we were not going to light any fire till the food was ready because of obvious reasons. The fireplace has an attraction. Automatically, willingly or unwillingly all tend to gather around the fireplace and everything else seems to be superfluous. We had to cook and at the same time ensure many other things were running according to plan. JD is the one who had the ‘bright’ idea not to light the fire. He did not give the exact reason, but after putting one and one together we could easily piece-up his reasons.
Around 9pm the food was ready. Sorry, almost forgot, we ensured that before having the main meal guys could actually wet their appetite by dishing out some crisps, strong tea (aka strungi) and sodas. This was a way of engaging gear one towards the main meal. The food was too mzuri. We had kilos and kilos of sembe. We actually thought guys would not finish the sembe. The sufuria that was used could easily feed 20 guys but I think many jamaas were hungry. Within no time, men went into serious business. You know, normally, when people start eating there is a way that stories just stop. It’s like time stops, and one is in constant pause with the only motion being the ingestion and digestion process. The meal was too mzuri- let truth be told. By this time, the fire was already burning thanks to the help of Leonard. He showed us some crazy skills of how to light a fire, skills which cannot be expressed in words. Imagine, we had no magazine or paper to start the fire but somehow our fire guru had the fire burning within a short time.
After dinner it was time for stories, by this time I think it was 10pm. Wow! Here we started engaging in all the nice conversations one can think of, from politics to social issues. I hoped that some of our politicians were there because the solutions that were being given from politics to the social setting (maybe it was because of the heavy sembe), were very pragmatic and made a lot of sense. After 40 minutes we unleashed drinks. Here I leave it to your imagination to guess what was on offer. Most probably your guess is right. And true to the Latin saying in vino veritas- in wine the truth, people started speaking the truth about the ‘Kenyan’ experience. Giving the best solutions that policy makers and analysts normally give. Fortunately we did not have a lawyer there. I think in this situation it would have been hard for him to win any argument. By the way, this does not mean that we had/did not have wine. Try to fill in the blanks wisely. (see photo below)
The stories went on until early morning. We ‘hit the sack’ around 2am in the morning. Some of us woke up after 4 hours. Then, as you know very well, in the morning the body system has to boot somehow from hibernation. Here, I leave it also to your imagination to guess what I mean. We had breakfast around 9am and were ready to leave the camp-site by 11.30am. We arrived atHells Gate Gorge at 12.30pm
Here, I would like to sensor the story a bit because of reasons you will understand later. When we reached the gorge, we decided to find our way (some people insisted they had been there a number of times and therefore they knew the place).
When some people (who will not be named) saw the sheer magnitude of the jumps, the climbing up, going down and the wide valleys, they decided to go back to the van and listen to some cool and relaxing music. The rest decided- “no way we have to continue and conquer whatever we came to conquer”. And sure they did. I will now fast forward- I think you can fill in the blanks or alama ya duku duku. The fellows were back at the gate of Hells Gate Gorge by 2.20pm. Take note that the fellows had not had any lunch by this time. We jumped into the car and sped off to Naivasha for lunch.
Unfortunately I cannot attach many good photos because this email will be too big and too long. We were back in Nairobi by 4.50pm, had a quick shower and then rushed to Consolata for the evening Mass. All in all the excursion was too too mzuri. Though we had intended to play board games during the excursion, the stories were too too good that other issues were pushed aside.
I will brief you about the next excursion (like Hells Gate) which will not be exertion (climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or other similar Mts), two words which many seem to confuse.