After a few hours drive from Nairobi, I awoke from my nap in the back of the matatu. We had arrived in Nakuru, the main city outside of the town we would be staying in. Unfortunately we were unable to stop in Nakuru at this time as we had to get to Njoro as soon as possible to meet up with the Kenyan volunteers. Njoro was the town I would be calling home for the next 3 months. It was a small town about a 30 minute drive from Nakuru and was quite rural in comparison. Every road in the town was a dirt road and every business in the town was locally owned. It was a bit like stepping back in time except people had smart phones. To begin with I found it all very bizarre, especially the fact live stock would be roaming around the streets and basking in the sun with no one watching. I later found out that the animals all knew where they lived and would return home on an evening, which I found absolutely amazing,
Our first week we would be staying in a hotel, so we could settle into the town and for the locals to become used to us. This was the first time the organisation had done a venture to this town, so it was a whole new experience for the locals as well as us. We would be staying at the hotel called farmers inn. The hotel was build in some kind of compound, with an outdoor and indoor bar. They served food and also had a community hall (which we used on a frequent basis). The thing I loved the most was the gazebos structured around the lot, which were great when you wanted to hang out with friends and enjoy a nice drink (these gazebos later became our offices).
We pulled up outside and the Kenyan volunteers were already outside waiting for our arrival. Everyone climbed out of them matatu’s and introduced ourselves one by one. All of the UK volunteers were absolutely exhausted from the journey as it had been around 24 hours since we left London. After the brief introduction we were escorted off to our rooms, so we could get settled in.
My room was on the ground floor right at the end, and it defiantly wasn’t what I was expecting. On a plus side I did have a flushing toilet (which I discovered later was a definite plus). It was a bright pink colour, the sheets were of a traditional African style and the bathroom was a small cubical with a shower almost over the toilet. I soon discovered that the shower in my room wasn’t running hot water, so I had to take a deathly cold shower, where I would have to run out constantly to regain some level of warmth. This went on for 3 days, until I found out that I could request a giant bucket of hot water which I would have to gradually tip over my head. At that moment it was pure bliss.
After everyone had settled in, the whole team went on a round trip of the town. Our first stop was up to the police station where we were introduced to the local officers and were given a tour of the facilities. We got some first hand experience of what I would be like if we needed up being arrested in Kenya. We were shown one of the cells, which was currently occupied by a couple of the locals. There they sat in complete darkness amount one another, without any toilet facilities. As you can imagine it was quite a harrowing experience, which I believe was used as a scare tactic for us to behave ourselves while we were visiting their town. We later made our way to the local golf course (for what reason I have no idea). We had a look around and then headed back to farmers inn. Due to the fact that the town had had very little white people visit beforehand we became a bit of a spectacle amount the locals. They would all want to talk to us and ask questions. We would politely explain what we were doing here and they do our very best to sneak away (they wanted to talk to you as long as possible). We would hear the word muzungu thrown around a lot and shouted towards us, which was a Swahili word used to describe white people (not gunna lie was pretty funny to begin with). On my way back to farmers inn I was grabbed by a man in the street and he said in a deep African voice “look at you”, whilst looking me up and down. At that point another one of the Kenyan volunteers managed to get me away and take me back to the hotel. I later discovered this would become a common occurrence in Kenya.
Now in true British fashion we decided to bond with the Kenyans with a few drinks, and we discovered just how cheap it was. Vodka, Gin and whiskey were the main spirits in the town, it was very rare you could find anything else, along with good old fashioned tusker. If you have every been to any African country you will know tusker is the main beer sold there. We drank, we bonded and we drank some more, whilst realising hang on I’m actually very drunk and I’ve only had equivalent of about 4 beers. What the hell is going on. We never assumed that the altitude would have such an effect on us, making our normal alcohol intake 1/3 of what it would usually be. I can honestly say we were all wasted. At which point most of us retreated to back to our beds to sleep it off.