Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Savannahs and grassy plains - Gappers fly into Kenya
Flying to Nairobi was amazing, looking out at the long, barren savannahs, the grassy planes and the odd lone savannah trees reminded us a lot of The Lion King which became a common part of daily conversation over the course of the trip. We had an hour between flights to Mombasa and this leg we had just finished, but at least 40 minutes of this was spent in the immigration line checking visa’s and immigration cards. Once all passing with flying colours, In an Amazing Race style we had to get our bags and get checked in at the domestic terminal across the road. But in mass confusion, it took 20 minutes to find our bags, and during this time, Jasmine especially was a massive stress-bucket and the worry that we were in Africa with nothing but the clothes on our backs didn’t seem inviting at all. However with persistent hope we found all the bags on a lonesome bag carousel on the opposite side of the airport.
All stress aside we made it to our next flight with 5 minutes to spare, before boarding the rear of the plane from the tarmac. Kenya Airways was far from expected the 40 minutes spent sipping apple juice and snacking on nuts was thoroughly enjoyed. Soon enough we were in Mombasa but with the green, dense landscape highly contrasting any initial Lion King feeling, we were yet to be disappointed. The weather, calm, breezy warmth and the smiling faces of the welcoming people made our excitement reach all time high!
Though moods quickly changed, driving through Mombasa city was frightening and different to expectations. It was grey and dusty and so many people from all walks of life filled every inch of uneven road in between old, new, expensive and run down vehicles of all likes. Jane’s tensions grew a little high when she had bad thoughts that this van wasn’t really Camp Kenya and we were being taken to be sold as slaves, and it didn’t help when we drove into this little, unknown hotel where we were unknowingly spending the night.
Darajani Hotel was nice, it was small and compact and all we needed for a night. It was tricky too since we hadn’t changed any money into Kenyan Shillings, so we were left a little helpless and it took some serious persuasion by Leila, who has exceptional skills in this area, to convince the staff that if we were to use anything we would sort it out with Camps International and pay for it all later!!
After a restful night, we got up and packed our stuff and then finally met the Camp Kenya bus again, as well as 22 English students all here for different reasons and began the 3 hour drive to our small piece of paradise in Muhaka. Talking and getting to know everyone we knew this would be the start of great friendships that would last a lot longer that the 1 to 3 months we were here.
Once we arrived we were warmly welcomed by Eustace the camp coordinator and the friendly staff. We also met Gladys who is second in charge and we were told that we were to treat and love Camp Kenya as our home. We were all happily satisfied with our dorm/huts and the facilities, basic but useful that we had for the next three months.
After almost 48 hours we had journeyed from one world to another, and ready to start experience on a whole new scale!