My trip to Masalani-Garissa!

My sincere apologies

I realize it has been two weeks since I last published a blog post. Thank you to you all who have sent me messages asking for my next blog post. My sincere apologies, there has been a little more on my plate now and it seems like it is getting even harder for me to create time for my blog. I went back to school, this means attending classes and working on my assignments.

On the way to Garissa

I got a new job, this too seems to be demanding with lots of learning to do as well as lots of travels. This literally marks an end to my freelancing/media consultancy career as of now. Then, I finally got a cat in my house, which also needs a share of my attention. As I write my blog, my cat is seated right here, looking at my fingers typing, perhaps wondering, what is this all about? I must say, my cat (Jinxy) is one of those things that I longed to have since the beginning of the year. I am sure you can now forgive me for the silence.

Having mentioned this number of times, I will say it again. Traveling is one of my hobbies and I get excited all the time I get a chance to travel, be it locally or even abroad. This is one of those years that has seen me travel within Kenya more than I have ever done before. One trip will not go unmentioned. It is my trip to Garissa.

The North Eastern Part of Kenya

Repairing minor accidents

Two weeks ago I joined a seven-member crew for Garissa. Having been contracted by the Centre for Multi Party Democracy (CMD-Kenya) for a report writing assignment, we left for Garissa on Wednesday morning.  The North Eastern part of Kenya, Garissa, Moyale, and even Mandera are some of the places that have been associated with Al-Shabaab militants for their close proximity to the recently captured Kismayu. The seven of us boarded 2 -four wheel drive vehicles outside the International Life House in Nairobi at exactly 9.45 am. We finally arrived at Ijara- Masalani at 10pm having had a slight stopover at Garissa Town and some breakdowns along the way.

Let’s talk about the journey to Masalani. Noticeably were the dry and dusty surroundings. Giraffes were part of the wildlife that made our trip complete.

Giraffe by the roadside

However, the rough road from Garissa to Masalani was full of challenges. The road was pathetic. The locals blamed this on the short rains that were experienced a few hours before our arrival. When we got to Fifa Constituency, about an hour from Ijara, one of our cars got a major breakdown, stuck on the mad and with a broken radiator. We all stopped to help. Finally, we decided to tow the stuck vehicle and in the process, the other vehicle too got stuck. The we were all stranded.

The dry Garissa-Masalani road

The absence of proper network connection worsened the scenario as this meant we could not report or call for help. We spent almost two hours trying to figure out the next move but the more we tried to pull the cars, the more they got stuck. (Good to mention that in this trip, there were only three ladies and we never stepped out of the vehicles.)

God’s sent miracle

Daisy Amdany, Gender and Development facilitator made a quick prayer asking God to send us help from wherever as it was getting darker and we were getting worried about our safety. True to Daisy’s call for help, indeed a group of four Somali men came from nowhere and offered to support us. One of them got into our car and started it off. As he did this, I was tensed. None of us knew what kind of a  group this was, but we trusted them to the extent of allowing one of them to try to start our car. Once he managed to pull it out, I got more tensed. I imagined that he was going to drive us away into the bush and maybe leave us there. We all looked at each other with lots of suspicion.  Indeed he was God sent. He drove a few meters away and stopped. He then called our driver and gave him the car keys. There was a sigh of relief.

One of the vehicles gets stuck

Then the other three Somali men plus the other 5 men from CMD-Kenya now a group of 8 men managed to pull out the other car. As we finally started our journey to Masalani, we (they) looked quite dirty. After 50 minutes or so, Honorable Sophia Abdi, the nominated MP for Ijara-Masalani had also sent us another car, so now we had an extra car to show us the way to Masalani. We arrived at 10pm where we were met by Sophia, who was the main organizer for the meeting in Garissa.

The 12 hour journey took away all my excitement to see North Eastern Province, it left me extremely tired. The following day, we had a half-days event and therefore, I had to sleep early so as to be ready for my report writing then embark on our journey back to Nairobi.

In my homeland -Taita, the cock crows will wake me up, but in Masalani, the moaning and groaning of camels early in the morning woke me up. I found this interesting.

Somali Women listen to Sophia Abdi

When we finally made it Wokike Hall where the event was being conducted, I realized I had made a huge mistake. Somali women who came out in large numbers, were all covered up, dressed in their Islamic regalia and here I was, in my T-shirt and jeans! The rest is history. We make mistakes and learn from our mistakes.

More details on this trip in my subsequent blog posts.

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7 thoughts on “My trip to Masalani-Garissa!

  1. Wow Patience, that was quite an experience, pole sana but glad you learnt from it. For some of us, this is what we go through from time to time as we reach out to these marginalized areas.
    Keep on with the spirit, and next time don’t forget to do a little research on the community you intend to visit, it helps a lot

    1. Hey Naanyu, thank you so much for your feedback. Next time, I will do a little more research before I leave my house. Thank you for reading my blog and of course for leaving your comment. Highly appreciated.

  2. Well wooven piece
    No mentin of how the people hospitality or hostility either
    Did u mention camels in masalani????
    Really?
    U must hv seen something else
    There no camels in the entire ijara district.

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