Well, almost. This past weekend Una and I visited a few volunteer friends who live near the slopes of Mt. Kenya, the second-tallest mountain in Africa. I visited Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, last month, but I had to stand outside the park gate because the entrance fee was too ridiculous (I’m not a tourist, guys!). I was glad Mt. Kenya’s entrance fee was only about eight bucks, because guess what? I never realized there were glaciers in Africa until recently, but we hiked up part of the mountain and there is definitely a glacier on top! I guess most of us Westerners think Africa only has hungry people and deserts (note: I did not say “desserts”)… WRONG! There are deserts, hungry people, glaciers, AND desserts!
All joking aside, the mountain is huge, steep, and cold. I even heard that the Mau Mau rebels used to hide in some caves in the dense forest surrounding the mountain when they were fighting the British for independence. Our friend Janneke lives in some village about ten kilometers from Mt. Kenya National Park’s front gate; this picture was taken from her door step. Pretty cool, eh? Unfortunately it is the only picture I have of the mountain, as the girls were using their cameras most of the time!
After parting with Janneke we headed to Nanyuki to visit Siddhartha. Sid’s a hilarious guy who, until recently, lived deep in the bush with the Maasai and the “real” African animals (giraffes, lions, rhinos, zebras, etc). I remember talking with Sid at volunteer meetings and he would tell me, “This is REAL Africa, BWANA!!” He has a house in the town now (where we visited), but still goes to the bush a few times a week. After a night of eating spicy food and relaxing, Una and I started our four hour journey back to Nairobi and to our respective placements.
So now I am back in Tala, where it’s almost entirely flat and the only animals I see are sheep, goats, and cows. It’s not very exotic here, but I used to think it was when I first arrived. After all, we don’t have cows walking around the streets of the United States, do we? That’s right, this is the real Africa, bwana!