"The best part of a travel is tasting local life, acting and eating like what people go through during their daily routine."
Special thanks to Ruth Wainena, is also Master Student in Wageningen University who work on her thesis with ILRI. She invited me to her home last weekend. Since I met her during Friday Morning Coffee few months ago, I got a feeling that we would have fun together.
After hours on Friday evening, we took matatus (public transportation in Kenya) to Naivasha, 100 km north-west part of capital city. Wainena’s family warmly welcomed me: Karl is Ruth’s hubby, Brenda and Brigid are the daughters, also her nieces: Ivon, Deby, and Wendy. While brief introduction was happening, smell of ready meal spread throughout the house. Homey food for proper dinner with little talk is always relaxing. More than what I expected, Ruth prepared one big room with private bathroom. There is special extra space that they own since Karl has business in tourism. Usually the room is for his client, I was the lucky one!
We planned to go to a place which I put on bucket list: Hell’s Gate National Park. Ruth has never been there either. Finally she got a reason to visit it. Karl drove the car to market because we should do grocery first. Then the car was going through the highway, bringing me and Wainena’s family. Only couple minutes after escaped from city center when I saw herd of zebra, antelope, also giraffe were grazing happily. We passed through rose’s plantation in massive greenhouses. Guess what, those industry belongs to Dutch investors for global market!
Arriving at the entrance of national park, there were people gathering one of attraction: rock climbing. We dropped by to see a man who already climbed up. Some gears were available for visitors, it took me back eight years ago when I did mountaineering during high school. The instructor caught my feeling, he kindly invited me to try “What if you climb on behalf of girls here?” I was a bit doubt since I haven’t been training myself. Then I answered “Yeah, tell me how to do it!” I asked for magnesium powder to keep my hand dry. The harness tied on my hip, I put helmet on and changed the shoes. Slow but sure I was ascending while another visitor cheered me up. The feeling when I reached top of the rock and inhaled. I figured out how to get back to the ground but it was my intuition lead me to do rappelling. The skill which has remained but never been used for so long brought me to land safely.
Our trip was continued to discover The Hell’s Gate. It is known that the landscape had been created by volcanic eruption. We went downhill to explore gorge. It leads to Ghost Junction where we crossed the creek to Devil’s Bedroom. A narrow cliff as a wall stands firm. Waterfall flows from the gorge and it is named as Devil’s shower. We walked further to the hot spring which is called Hell’s Kitchen. Due to rain and possibility of flood, we couldn’t take long trekking that day. However, the weather changed rapidly. After lunch time there was no more shower, we were heading back home and taking few stop to capture some wildlife pictures.
|while the guys worked out|
|buffalo was ruminating|
An opportunity to enjoy bright day during rainy season in Kenya could be hardly predicted. Thus we didn’t want to let it go. In the afternoon, we visited shore of Lake Naivasha to see hippo. A boat-man came straightaway when Karl parked the car. Ruth asked for guarantee to make sure we can see hippo. The boat-man agreed with the deal. He turned on the engine, immediately we saw a family of hippo took a nap nearby lake shore. Sure the man could give us hippo-view-warranty because he knows very well where they are around. Surprisingly, he showed us new couple of hippo and group of them who have just separated the family since there should be only one male for one hippo’s family.
|meet the hippo's family|
Ruth’s home is actually located only 2 km from the lake. In the afternoon, we looked another view of lake by walk from her home with the girls. I had a chilling afternoon whilst enjoyed view of pasture and herd of sheep in a frame. There are Maasai people who live nomad depends on grazing area for their cattle. View of south side is Mount Longonot. We moved forward to the lake with valleys as its background. If only the sky was clear, it would be perfect to see sunset. We should have come back before dark to avoid hippo during their meal time. Suddenly, we heard animal’s groan. We assumed it as hippo’s voice to give a signal for us to run. What an exercise before dinner!
|afternoon walk before run out of hippo|
I stayed until Sunday afternoon in Ruth’s home. All of the family went to church on Sunday morning. Meanwhile, I strolled out to the area, such a great ‘me time’ after finished brunch then read book while laying back on the couch. They reached home almost at lunch time. Wainena’s daughters cooked the meal for lunch. In the meantime, Ruth took me to fish market. We saw neighborhood of her village and I asked more about how community set up their life in that area. People filled the market. Fish seller were ready to offer fresh product from lake such as tilapia, carp, and mud fish, sometimes they sell shrimp by order. Usually, customer will pick the fishes and by request, the seller bring it to the kitchen to be deeply fried. It will be served with ugali and kachumbari.
Wrapping up whole activities during last weekend, I recharged my energy for a week ahead!