In October, 2016, Amy, Kjell, and Mama C travelled to Kitale, Kenya to visit the Mercy and Caring Childrens home. There we had the opportunity to try out our learning software, the product that eventually became Kasuku Stories, for the very first time.
Today we travelled to Kitale. We had been two days at a guesthouse in Nairobi, mainly just fighting jetlag and getting into our African rhythm. The birds start singing at 4:45. The sun rises (and sets) at six. It's an early start, and an early end to our days, just the way we like it.
Our adventures in Nairobi had been pretty low-key so far. Wednesday we bought groceries and flowers. Yesterday we walked to the mall to buy SIMs. The rest of the time was spent cooking, boiling water, napping, learning Swahili, drinking chai, and generally trying to convince our bodies that "there is nothing unusual to see here, please move along." It had been a pretty restful introduction to life in East Africa so far. Today though, we broke the routine and headed to Kitale — an 8 hour bus ride away. We stocked up on food, snacks, and water, packed up our suitcases, and prepared ourself for another trek.
Our taxi driver, picked us up at 7, and we fought the rush hour traffic to get to the Easy Coach bus depot in downtown Nairobi. The station, we realized, was a few blocks into the part of town that wouldn't want to navigate without an experienced guide. Fortunately, we had one in our driver. We slowly weaved our way through the crush of cars, pedestrians, bikes, and pullcarts laden with fruits and veggies. We watched the car ahead had a wheel cover stolen as it made its way down the road, the thief picking it off the car and stashing it into his bag with one smooth motion. The city's unfortunate nickname, "Nairobbery" came to mind.
As we got close to the depot, our driver, who had picked up our bus tickets the night before, explained that our route wasn't very full, so instead of taking one bus. We would be changing busses in Eldoret. When we asked about this at the station, the worker there disagreed. "Hakuna matata. Just one bus. The others will change. Hakuna matata."
The ride was a lot to see. It was our first look at Kenya proper. We saw apartments, golf courses, donkey carts, piki pikis, tuk tuks, slums, shepherds, zebras, baboons, and M-pesa stands everywhere. We saw more things than we could conceivably process. And then we saw more. For 6 hours we looked out the windows onto a country that we don't yet understand.
As we pulled into our stop in Eldoret, someone jumped on the bus and shouted something. After a long pause, A man sitting across the aisle from us helpfully explained "the other bus goes to Kitale. You must change."
So we changed. I crawled into the belly of the bus and retrieved our bags, (now thoroughly covered in other bags). We loaded everything into the second bus, and got on to our last leg to Kitale. The rest of the ride was bumpy, but uneventful, even quiet, by comparison. We arrived in Kitale, called our taxi driver, and prepared ourself for our arrival at the Mercy and Caring Children's Home.