Beyond imagining

Kajiado_2017_tka_team Posted by Kajiado 2017 on Sat, 25 Nov 2017 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

It’s the scale of this place that takes my breath away.

Okay. It’s not all like that.

As we pulled out of Kajiadio, I was glad to leave the town behind. Kajiadio is all bustle and noise and dusty narrow streets and awful litter everywhere. A short drive up the main Nairobi road and we stopped to collect Naftaly in a similar town called Isinya. Here the old meets the new. The traditional goat tied to a stake in the ground side by side with cyber cafes and mobile phone shops.

Now we took the road cross country, bumping and jolting all the way, grinding along in low gear. Until we came to a town where we provisioned with fresh fruit and vegetables at a local street market. The colour, the noise, the chaotic traffic, the rich smells, all mingled into a smorgasbord for the senses.

The next part of the journey took us further along the Mombasa road to the diocese’s cattle farm. The drought has hit hard here. Cattle are doing poorly for lack of feed as a result of lack of grass as a result of lack of rainfall. They are skinny things, showing bare bones through their hides. Some of them won’t survive if the rains don’t come. And even then others won’t survive because with the rains comes the cold which can lead to pneumonia and death. This sword has two edges!

A diocesan guesthouse repleat with purple Jacaranda trees and a swimming pool is on the same campus as the farm. Here we drank tea and ate mandarin (a sort of local donut) smothered in honey. The swimming pool teased us in the heat of the African sun. But alas, onward beckoned the road.

And what a road!

A track at best. In places not even that. Just open semi arid plain with a few stunted trees and some thorn bushes. But here was also wildlife. Giraffe and zebra and wildebeest. Thompson gazelle and kudu and harte best. A single impala. And the bird life. Bustard and secretary bird and sand grouse. Franklolin and guinea fowl and superb starlings and iridescent blue and red.

But above all now it was the sheer scale of the open vet that really made one gasp. Kenya’s plains are vast. Beyond imagining. Way beyond anything we Irish can experience at home. As far as the eye can see and over the horizon. A great openess and very little besides.

We pulled off the track and parked under an acacia tree and drank coffee and munched on egg and tomato sandwiches and looked around in open mouthed wonder. And a small herd of Thompson gazelles looked back at us, flicking their tails and doubtless wondering ‘What are THEY doing here!?’

Journeys end at Oltiasika arrived none too soon for weary travellers. We were greeting by local Maasai with a warmth that made one think ‘Have I met these folk before? Am I a long lost friend to them’. Handshakes and smiles and even a few hugs were exchanged and immediately we we were made to feel like we had come home.

After supper, we watched the sun set behind Kilamanjaro. Imagine that. To be able to say ‘I have watched the sun set behind Kilimanjaro.’

As we toddled off to bed, the words of the 8th Psalm echoed in my mind…

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens…

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers -
the moon and the stars you set in place -
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?

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