Motorcycle Diaries / Kenya: "The Perfect Vacation"

A vacation in Kenya for an entire month was a dream that suddenly came true for me. Friends living there as U.S. AID employees invited me to visit their home in Kenya for a month. I gave it some thought and realized this was a chance of a lifetime. The invitation was accepted and my preparations began. I headed for the airport, boarded a flight to London and transferred to a flight to Nairobi. The feeling of nostalgia was almost overwhelming. I was actually on the second largest continent in the world. The place where civilization began.

The trip was during the month of March and the weather was beautiful, ranging from 75 to 90 daily. It rained only once during my entire visit. It seemed to always feel warm and comfortable, never hot and unbearable, as one might anticipate. The trees, shrubs, and flowers were unsurpassed in beauty and color. Nature really puts on a show in Kenya. The fruits served for breakfast at my friend’s home were grown on their property. Some of the fruit was unrecognizable, but still tasted absolutely delicious.

We boarded a train to Mombassa and actually marveled at the beauty of the Indian Ocean. The pictures could never display the true beauty of this ocean. The water is as clear and clean as the waters in the Caribbean and it has a calming effect that only nature lovers seem to appreciate. We dined at an outdoor restaurant with a view of the ocean, up close and personal. The food was native dishes, which we really enjoyed, but beer was the best I have ever had. Please order beer with every meal. The restaurant had monkeys swinging above on the trees and we were advised to refrain from feeding them. I tried to comply, but one monkey recognized me as a tourist, swung down, and in a split second grabbed the bread from my plate. That was a little shocking, but in retrospect, I can truly appreciate the monkey’s role in making my vacation a memorable one.

We also visited the Massai Tribe, a group of people who live in huts and practice the earlier customs of life. The people were warm, friendly, and very proud of their homes. We were invited in and were offered a cup of goat’s blood, which we graciously accepted and felt very honored to have the privilege to witness their culture and lifestyle. Their community and huts had a distinct feeling of peace and tranquility.

A female pilot flew us to the Safari. What an experience! The leopards, lions or cheetahs were lying in the grass enjoying the sun, completely oblivious to the audience for which they were performing. Our instructions were to be very quiet, not to feed or disrupt the animals in any manner and to remain at a safe distance on the designated tracks. I was hopeful that the animals would treat us likewise. They did.

During my travels in Kenya, I was privileged to meet some of the friendliest native Kenyans. Some spoke perfect English, Swahili or French, but language was not important because the warmth and compassion they seem to have for each other and for tourist was evident everywhere. Now I understand decisions others have made to sell their homes and businesses and return to this great country. If you cannot make the decision to move to Kenya, at least take the time and effort to visit. Americans refer to African countries as underdeveloped. However, Americans are still striving for peace and happiness. They already have it!

{ exclusive feature}
by Rose Jones & transcribed by Sylvia Barnes Taylor {The Liberator Magazine 3.1 #05, 2004}

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