. The tents are 2-man tents are actually pretty decent. With just a sleeping pad provided. I ended up tenting with the same guy from the hotel - which is a engineer from England and he certainly acts the part. He’s cool though. After a fire was built and some chunks of meat were tossed in and the cook went to work on the veggies. It seemed like it took forever to eat the food but it was well worth it. Veggie medley, potatoes, green bean stuff, and actual African animals. We ate zebra - which was kind of tough, impala - dam good, and some other kind of deer like thing - which made my mouth water. I really wanted to eat the zebra with some zebra skin on it, but just looking at it you wouldn’t even know it wasn’t beef or pork. Soon after dinner we soon retreated to our tents because 6 am comes really early. More on the camping situation. We just camp in the middle of the park where anything and everything can come in and do their thing. We had a baboon problem before nightfall and also again when we woke. These huge baboons come over to you or your stuff and try to snatch it. Typical monkey behavior! At night you could hear all kinds of animals out there. I slept pretty well except when my tent buddy woke up at 4 am to pee. Let’s say he didn’t walk very far. Also when I was brushing my teeth over by the wood line, I was shining my flashlight around the place to see if I could see any eyes in the brush, and I did! There were a small pair about 10 m away from me
. Sunrise came early and we ate cereal, toast and bananas.
This day we were supposed to go to a school and see some local kids and also help paint some classrooms and what not. Since it is a holiday today, there were no kids in class so we opted instead to go to an orphanage in the area so we could go see some kids. We arrived late morning in the orphanage after a short game drive out of the park where we did see two Rhinos that were kind of far off. The project manager of the orphanage talked with us a bit about the program and why some of the kids were there. Everything from physical abuse, parents died or too poor to feed them, and the kids running away from home. There were babies there all the way up to an 18 year old which I didn’t see. When the head lady was done giving her talk, all the kids who were sitting there the whole time stood up and started to sing us a song which we really didn’t understand. Then the kids were free to grab us at random and show us around the place as they chose. A little boy named Patrick took me by the hand and led me up to his room. Which was a bunch of bunk beds that reminded me of summer camp. Then he took me out back in the playground and showed him their rabbits and the bunnies. Then I ended up pushing him in a swing for a bit then some of the boys started kicking a soccer all around and we went over to join in.
Once a bunch of the boys started kicking the ball around, others soon joined in. I then met Patrick’s brother who was 2 years older and seemed to speak better English. Once we met, those two boys and another one started calling me "Transporter." I knew why they were because of the movie with the English guy Jason Statham in it. I guess my 5 o’clock shadow and face looked similar. Then I took off my ball cap and showed them my short balding hair and they again repeated to me, “Transporter.” It was funny! I wish I had some kung-fu moves to show them like in the movie, but I don’t. The rest of the time I spent talking with them a bit about various things like what they learn in school and what they want to be when they grow up. They both said a football player and a goalie. I was kind of pondering to give them a speech about not being too focused on that goal and try to hit the books hard in school. But I didn’t because at least they had goals unlike some others. And that’s kind of every little boy’s goal. Especially when they love a sport like that. By that time it was time to go and I said my goodbye’s to the boys. A lot of other people in the group were snapping pics with and of the kids but not really me. I didn’t really have any pictures with the boys or too many of our time in the orphanage because I kind of feel bad when I pull out my $400 camera and snap pictures of them like some kind of zoo animals. I feel kind of disrespectful towards them if I do
. The white people roll in with nice clothes, big expensive cameras, and get treated like VIP's. I know it wasn’t like that but it is kind of like that. But when it comes down to it, the kids really appreciate it when adults come and talk with them and just laugh and play with them. It’s obviously more than their parents have given them. It’s a good experience going to something like this but it breaks your heart leaving the place knowing that most of the kids won’t really have a chance to make something of their lives. They are likely to repeat the same thing their parents succumbed to. After leaving the orphanage, we took a very long 6ish hour truck ride. Luckily I was in a spot where there was a table in the middle of us 4 and we talked and played cards a bit to pass time. I have a feeling I should be doing some daily Yoga before I hop on the truck because we have some very long days ahead on that thing.
Afterward, we headed to a little town called Eldoret. Apparently half the town is owned by two guys of Indian descent but are full blood Kenyan. We arrived after a few hours on the road and some of us put up out tents, some decided to upgrade to a dorm room or a private bungalow. Apparently a lot of the places we stop at have the option to upgrade if you want to pay more money. Except when we are camping in the “bush.“ Since I am cheap and I figure I expected to be camping the entire time, I decided to stick it out in the tent. And a lot of the people have been upgrading so that means there are empty tents to use instead of shacking up with my tent buddy. So other people are basically paying for my single tent which is nice. The place was pretty dam nice which was surprising because it was in the middle of nowhere. It had that hut/tiki theme which was cool and also had a swimming pool which I quickly took advantage of. The staff at the site cooked for us instead of our own cook. We had chicken curry and ate in a really awesome bar that had an indoor firepit, a waterfall, a few bridges and small ponds with fish inside this tiki hut bar. The place was really cool. After dinner, we split off and had a few drinks and got to know each other a bit better. After 2 beers, I started to head to bed and as I was walking out I said goodnight to our tour leader who was talking with the owner and a friend of his. The owner asked where I was from and I told him the US and he immediately started going into this story about how he was being followed by the US government when he was in the country. The guy was a little loopy and dressed in camo pants with a dark olive green sweater. He had one of those European mullets you see football players have and looked Hispanic to me. Once he told the story, I was kind of locked into the conversation for awhile. It was interesting but 6am came quick and it wasn’t fun waking up after only 5 hours of sleep.
My first day was pretty good. We had a few hours drive to our first stop of Lake Nakuru. We saw the usual of zebra, water buffalo, and impala. We did see a few lions later in the day but they were just laying around. As we were driving by the lake, we came across another truck like ours that was stuck in the mud pretty badly. Being the friendly people that we are, we decided to stop and lend a hand. After about an hour of trying to pull them out with our truck, we were only getting stuck ourselves and it started to rain. So we had to bail on them and let them be. At least we tried to help! We had lunch overlooking the valley and the lake which was nice. It was our first meal together from out of the truck and some of the veterans of the trip knew how things worked. Lunch was just some ham sandwiches with fresh veggies. It was nice but I have a feeling that the lunches will be the same almost every day. Later on after our next game drive, we stopped in a bush camp and set up camp. The veterans again showed the newbie's what to do and we quickly set up camp