As I write this Virgin Atlantic are winding down their services to Nairobi and the route will be ending. This is sad news indeed. Kenya is a country that I have grown to love. The people are probably the kindest, most humble people I've met. Their faith in God coupled with strong values and high morals make them truly beautiful people to be around. I've made some good friendships over the years. I love reading their status updates on Facebook. So different to the usual boring ones we are all accustomed to! I've been blown away and inspired by Julio Mwangi, an incredible runner whose marathon PB is just 2 hrs 14 minutes. I watch in awe as he trains hard, works hard and raises a young family in the Masai Mara. His dedication to his faith sees him through every time.
I've had some incredible times in Kenya and met people that have changed my life and humbled me. People like Brandon, a Canadian working with the charity Me To We in conjunction with Free The Children. People who tirelessly give and never take back. I've been fortunate enough to do several safaris in Kenya too. One of the best days happened completely by accident. I couldn't sleep so hailed a taxi and headed off to the elephant and rhino orphanage. I took blankets and SMA Gold baby milk with me as I'd heard they relish these donations. That is where I met Eric. We got chatting and before I knew it I was being whisked away to Kenyas national park for a one on one tour. I came up close and personal with a giraffe. So close that it leaned down and licked my face! "He likes you" said Eric.
But perhaps my most incredible memory to date will be the time I climbed Mount Kenya. Africa's second highest mountain at 17,000 feet. She's not congested like Kilimanjaro and for the four days and four nights that we climbed we didn't see a single other climber. We drank from streams, crossed the equator and saw sights that will stay with me a lifetime. I shared my tent with two Masai warriors and felt strangely protected as each night bush babies and buffalo tried to get into our tent. We detoured and scaled Mount Mugi, swam in Lake Ellis and marvelled at the beauty of the mountain. On summit day we were split into three teams. Fast, medium and slow. It was a thrill to be in fast group as I'd only had a Caesarian six months earlier and wasn't confident about my fitness. But I did it!!! Summit was incredible. We saw Mt Kili off in the distance. We took the Chogoria route and although a little tougher was definitely worth it! As usual getting off the mountain terrified me! I descended the first few thousand feet on my arse!
As we celebrated with Tusker beer and cries of Jamba Jamba I knew that I loved this country.
I hope that one day I can return and bring my children. Show them the incredible wildlife. Immerse them in the culture, visit one of the many orphanages crying out for donations. Give them a different perspective on life. So until then.....farewell Kenya. Im going to really miss you.