Everyone seems pretty upbeat today in the morning; we know this is our last day. However, ready as we are to be finished walking, there is some sense of reluctance… not wanting to be done experiencing this journey.
We have a long and winding trail up over some foothills, but the walking is slow, as the bushes and acacias along the trail have to be slashed back with machetes to allow enough passage for the camels and all of the gear. It feels like one of the longer and more grueling days of trekking, but in fact we cover only 12 miles before reaching the final campsite.
John (Amanda’s husband) joined us later in camp in his Land Cruiser, having carted along cold beers and water to greet us (!), as well as provisions for their famous “fat man’s breakfast” the next morning. Not to break tradition, it rained again that night, but not before we got to enjoy Michael playing the harmonica around the fire, with Josh accompanying him on his traditional Kenyan drum…
Sitting in my tent, relishing memories of the last 10 days and listening to that was very soothing and sweet.
The walk is now over, and I feel lucky to be able to return back to Makindu for an additional 10 days… to spend time with the kids and their families, and just enjoy being with them all again. The trek was arduous enough for us at times, but still hardly compares to the struggles and challenges that these children face daily… to us, this was simply an “adventure”; for them it is their everyday life.
Postscript 1, day eleven, driving back:
The adventure apparently wasn’t yet over, as the rains had caused the rivers to flood. All of these roads are just gravel and dirt, and with no functional bridges across the streams and rivers (the few bridges we did see had never been finished and didn’t extend all the way across, and instead ended in mid-air). At the first river crossing, we had to wait some time for the waters to recede enough to power across in the Land Cruiser, where we could meet the two cars we had hired to drive us back to Nairobi. Later on in the drive we encountered yet another river crossing, with the waters up to above waist level as well as a fast current… that was quite the joy ride across!
Everyone on the walk did great, with no major maladies beyond sore feet and joints, some blisters (Brian won the blister prize this trek), and the occasional gut-wrenching stomach blitzes often encountered in Africa and in the bush. Our two dogs, Safari and Mwizi were happy campers, and were adopted in (as expected!) by Amanda and John. Amanda notes that Safari generally stays with Kamau, their main cook, and Mwizi is now the loyal companion of their camel guys. Both have apparently settled in as if it was home in the first place.
Many thanks to all those who have supported us in this fundraising walk; although our walk is over, the journey for the Makindu kids goes on!