Africa Trip - 18th - 30th May 17
I always wanted to go to Africa. It had been a place I was drawn to despite never having travelled there before. I suppose it was the vast unexplored lands, variable environments and the excitement of possibly visiting places that not many (if any) westerners had walked before. So I packed my gear and went.
Everything I need
Day One - London to Nairobi
It was an early start on the 18th May 2017. It took me one taxi ride, one coach and a long walk through London Heathrow to get to my terminal, where my plane was waiting for me. Everything went very smoothly. I got on the plane and I was on my way! It was a long flight but it was made much more bearable by drinking ginger ale and sleeping. This was repeated every time the trolley came past knocking my elbow and waking me up.
I landed in Nairobi late in the evening where I was catching a connecting flight to Kisumu. Unfortunately there was an 8 hour wait in between and no proper waiting area at the airport, so I decided to find a hotel for the night. I left the arrivals terminal to go outside after eventually getting through immigration (which by the way costs $50 for a visa that can be pre purchased online or on arrival just be prepared to wait). Immediately outside there was a coffee shop who's staff were very friendly. They made great lattes and helped me find a local but affordable (although more expensive than I expected) hotel where I could crash for the night - which is exactly what I did...
Day Two - African roads
I was meeting my father and friend Howard at Kisumu airport which is only a short connecting flight. They had already in Africa for a few weeks and had already spent time in Rwanda and Uganda. They were now into their second week in Kenya which is where I joined them. They have been going to Africa for many years now and were doing some incredible things out there. If you want to follow their journey visit their site at timeoutmission.org.
Kisumu International Airport
Eventually we set off towards our next destination, into the depths of a Africa, a place called Bungoma. The car journey was going to be around 4 hours, but I didn't mind one bit as the drive was very interesting. It was my first insight into the real Africa,
outside the grasp of big city walls and nicely paved roads. It was beautiful! Along the whole way people were waving and shouting 'Muzingo' which means white man in Swahili. The local people were out conducting their day to day business, from harvesting crops to selling them on the side of the road - corn seemed to be the most common.
It took 4 hours of travelling on 'African' roads - which means pot holes and no tarmac (a real test of the Toyota's suspension and our pain thresholds!) but we finally made it into Bungoma in the early afternoon. We would be staying for the next few days with Martin and his family. Martin is an extraordinary man and was our host for the duration of the trip. They were all very welcoming and instantly I felt right at home. Not long after, we were fed and served up the finest Kenyan tea in my life. It was a real homely brew, one made very different to the British tea we make back home. In fact, if you would like the recipe and method let me know and I'll talk you through it. It was so nice I think I probably averaged around 5 to 6 cups of it a day - that's a lot of tea!
Last cup of Kenyan tea before hitting the hay
Day Three - Unwanted Attention
The following day begun with a helping of Kenyan tea.
All this time I had been chauffeured around by our driver and friend Hudson, but I wanted to get a feel of the local town by walking through it. So me and my dad Mike took a stroll through the outskirts of Bungoma, which is a busy Kenyan village where we were at the time.
Two white men strolling through a remote African town is definitely going to attract some attention - to a point where guys riding motorcycles would see us, drive past us and then continue to stare at us as they were driving the opposite direction! It wasn't rude, I just don't think they have seen many westerners in their town. It was a great experience walking the streets, speaking to people and finding out their individual stories. We met a guy who was surrounded by hundreds of beautifully polished black shoes which he had been shining all day sat under a tree for shade, ready to sell them at market.
Day Four - Bungoma Hospital
Today I was meeting a great guy called Alex. He helped at the local hospital as a councillor and was changing the lives of many people with a wide variation of issues: from suffering abuse to struggling with sickness. It's people like Alex who are the real rocks of the community, as people come to him to seek advice or simply if they need comforting - which he offers in abundance.
Day Five & Six - Travel by any means
These days were spent in Bungoma trying out the different modes of transport. You have the cheapest option which is jumping on the back of a bicycle while someone cycles you to your desired destination. The cost of which is the equivalent of 10-20p. Second was a motorcycle, which cost more in the region of 50p and the Tuk Tuk was only a little bit more. The motorcycle had got to be the most fun (and deadly) by far.