There is so much that is happening in Kenya right now. Sadly, most of it is negative. Teachers have been on strike for the past 2 weeks. Doctors too have joined the teachers in demanding for what they call their rights. University lecturers recently joined the fray.
We have been a striking nation for a while now, as I mentioned in an earlier blog but what’s more saddening is the recent spate of terrorist attacks in our major cities mostly due to our country’s involvement in attempts to eradicate the Al-Shabaab in neighbouring Somalia. As if this is not enough, we continue to witness loss of lives in the Tana Delta as two rival communities, Pokomo and Orma, go after each other’s throats in what has seen more than 100 lives lost in less than a month. Incidents that make us continue to doubt the powers and ability of our police force. All we are left to do is sit down and pray that God intervenes at this moment.
While there is so much bloodletting and sad events around us in Kenya, I am optimistic that things will change for the better one fine Monday. It is in that spirit that I decide to highlight some of those things that make Kenya such a great country despite all the negativity.
Last weekend, in the spirit of attending weddings, I toured the Rift Valley province. I loved this side of Kenya. From the cyprus trees engulfing most of Limuru and the crisp air hitting my face during the drive to the wide expanse of flat land that is Narok all the way to the undulating green fields of Kericho. The scenic surroundings are simply spectacular.
Kericho is world-renowned for its tea. That means I got a chance to fill my eyes with the rich green stretches as far as my eyes could see and to experience some quiet life away from the noise, hustle and bustle of Nairobi city.
Rift Valley has some of the best roads in Kenya. It was an amazingly smooth ride with a great view that is less hilly compared to my motherland, Taita Taveta. However, something is clearly familiar, the rural feel is the same. The fresh air, birds humming in the early morning, cock crows, cattle and sheep heading to the field, the ringing voices of children playing in the distance carried along by the wind and of course residents going about their daily duties at a slow pace.
If you live in Nairobi, you will appreciate this kind of lifestyle especially when you spend time away from the city for short periods. In Nairobi, there are too many people and we keep bumping into each other especially in the noisy and over-crowded city centre. The bedlam of hooting and shouting touts, drivers and hawkers can be extremely irritating. So a weekend in the countryside is always a wise decision for anyone who wants to experience some peace, rejuvenate and add a little life into their already drained existence in the city bustle.
While Kericho-Narok road is worth mentioning for its exceptional smoothness, the irony starts immediately you leave the highway and take the turn into the Maasai Mara. The road heading to the Mara, is ratty, bumpy, dusty and looks uncared for despite the heavy tourist traffic going in and out daily. When I inquired why a road that goes into a world-famous game park and one of the biggest tourist attractions in Kenya as the Maasai Mara is the way it is, I was informed that it’s part of the authenticity of the whole Maasai Mara experience complete with it’s ruggedness. I would however love to hear what the tourists think about this. Personally, I think otherwise.
Many naturally forget about the bumpy road once they get into the Maasai Mara game park. The Big Five (Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Buffaloes and Rhinos) is one of life’s greatest experiences that many foreigners come face to face with in close proximity for their first time. While many of us Kenyans take this for granted, most tourists are amazed at the sight of these animals. The Safari experience leaves many longing for more days at the Mara.
Some of the photos taken during these trips are greatly treasured by tourists upon returning to their countries and since many of their countrymen have not seen such before, they quickly and proudly display the photos to them. In addition to the wildlife many find our slums and even traffic jams a spectacle they have never witnessed before.
According to them these are completely new experiences that are worth telling to their people back home. It probably explains why Kenya continues to be known for its animals, slums and traffic jams. Many continue to think of Kenya as a hub of wildlife or even a wild and muddled up-country because of the crowded lifestyle.
Kenya as a country might be undergoing so much at the moment, but let’s try to focus a little on the positive things concerning this great land in East Africa. Appreciate Kenyans as some of the most friendly people you will ever find in the world. Our land is endowed with one of the most beautiful coastlines. Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu promise some of the most magnificent tourist experiences you will ever find in the world and may not want to miss while in Kenya. The Taita Hills, the wildlife, the scenic mountain views, the park experience, the safari and a chat with the beautiful Maasai’s could just be what you are looking for.
So while you read and hear about to all the problems facing Kenya at the moment, take a breath and for a minute, think of all the positive things that we can be grateful for in this beautiful country. If you think this is too much to ask, then just thank God for the gift of life and a chance to read my blog.
“An optimistic person sees opportunity where a pessimist sees obstacles.”