Goat soup & the stoic baboon

Trip Start Dec 07, 2009
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Trip End Sep 26, 2010


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Saturday, June 19, 2010

We left Saturday morning for a weekend trip to Nakuru. I was finally leaving the big city of Nairobi behind and seeing some of the African countryside and some of the real African magic I had been expecting.

Not long after leaving Nairobi, we stopped at a viewpoint for the famous Great Rift Valley. This was a magnificent viewpoint overlooking the massive valley. The souvenir shops were also in abundance here and I was asked by every single shop owner to come and look in their shop, to which I had to politely decline after the 4th guy had come up to ask me to see his shop which of course contained the exact same handmade crafts as all the others. After a few photos we were back on the road and made a stop in Naivasha to see Karimi's parents. They had tea with us and we were soon on our way again and after another hour of scary highway driving we made it to Nakuru. We were the guests of honour at Rahab's brothers house so in true African fashion they were throwing a big party and having a feast.

Lots of friends and relatives showed up and it was an honour to be included in a real African family get together. The hosts of the party had slaughtered a goat before we arrived (better that I didn't have to watch anyways!) and had started cooking it. As soon as we arrived we were ushered in to sit down for a big feast which included some of the more interesting parts of the aforementioned goat. I tried a few bits but stayed away from the more exotic looking things like the intestines. After eating we sat around and talked and I wandered to the backyard and fire pit. There they were preparing goat soup, which is quite a treat to Africans, as they all take about 5 cups when it is ready. Goat soup is basically this: Every part of the goat that hasn't been cooked yet thrown into a big pot. The legs, head, stomach, various other bits I couldn't name all in one big pot. Then covered with water and a few simple spices and salt and brought to a boil and then a low simmer over a fire for a few hours. Then a ladle is dipped in and strained into a cup, and voila, goat soup. I struggled with the idea of it, but I had a half cup. It tasted like goat, that is pretty much all I can say about that! Quite an experience. The Africans could not believe we didn't do this sort of thing in Canada as they all took their 5th glass of soup. Ahh yes, the day of the goat soup. After that we watched some football then I turned in for the night, safely tucked away under my mosquito net.

The next day I woke up early for a visit to Lake Nakuru National Park to see the famous flamingos of Nakuru, but when we got there we found out how expensive it was and that it was too late in the day to see any animals in the park except for the flamingos. So I decided against the game drive as I am planning on visiting the much more famous Masai Mara park later on in my trip anyways. The flamingos can be viewed from far away anyways, a big pink mass on the lake shore.

After this Karimi and I picked up a few of his high school friends and we made the hour long trip to the nearby community of Molo. Karimi had been to boarding school at Molo Academy and was making a trip back with some of his alumni to drop off some books and show me around. The road there was not so much a road, but after about 1271 bumps and a couple of bruises we made it. Molo Academy was just like Nairobi School. Conditions that were very surprising to me, but the kids there were also very bright and the school produced some very successful graduates. We took a tour of the school and had lunch with the principal. The classrooms were very rundown but the kids in them all had smiling faces and were very curious and happy to see me. At the end of the trip we organized a soccer game for the alumni and myself against the schools team. It was great fun and the entire school came out to watch (1000+ kids) Everyone had a good time and I got many curious stares. After the game was over Karimi and the alumni presented the books and supplies to the principal and they all said a few words to the kids, then they had me get up in front of the whole school and tell them about myself and who I was. The kids were amazed and after I was done talking, one of them came and said hi and shook my hand, and a few other students saw this and their shyness disappeared and very soon I was mobbed by almost every single kid in the entire school wanting to shake my hand and touch me just to see if I was real. It was an amazing experience and lasted for about ten minutes as I was grabbed by nearly every student in the school. Later, Karimi told me this did not surprise him as nearly all the kids there had never seen a white person, and they were just amazed I had come to visit them and I had been on an airplane. He said they would remember my visit for many years, and I said I will never forget it for many years. It was a little bit of magic that I had envisioned before I came to Africa.

That night the alumni and I all went to a local restaurant for Nyama Choma. Nyama Choma is very popular in Africa it is roasted meat and the Africans love it and it is served in many of the restaurants here. We watched the World Cup then went back to sleep at the house for the night.

The next morning it was time to go back to Nairobi. I took the standard African breakfast of tea and bread then we were off. We left behind the beautiful lake of Nakuru and the flamingos and the mosquitoes. We did stop at the milk bar on the way out for some fresh milk and muffins too. One of the friends I had made in Nakuru owned the place, so I thought it would be interesting to take fresh milk and say goodbye.

On the way back we passed some of the magical countryside that I imagined I would see in Africa. We spotted many zebras and loads of the acacia trees that Africa is so famous for. I also saw a few gazelles and an impala near the side of the road. Then before we got home Karimi pulled over and there right on the very side of the road, no more than a metre from my car window, sat a giant baboon. It was just sitting perched on a rock, eating maize on the cob. It sat there for over a minute, without a care in the world, just enjoying his maize. This animal was massive by the way, I'd estimate it weighed 150 pounds. It sat there and I rolled my window down to talk to it and try to get its attention, but it just sat there silently, eating. Karimi offered me a few fries to get its attention. He also warned me not to lot it get too close. Anyways I chucked a few fries out the window and this worked because the baboon hopped down from his rock as quick as lightning and and grabbed a fry and then continued running towards the car. The rest of the details are very hazy, but I do recall Karimi speeding off so the baboon didn't jump in my window while in the meantime I quickly chucked the rest of the handful of fries out the window to distract the baboon. I might have also screamed like a little girl, but as I said before, the details were a bit sketchy. I just know that it was awesome and baboons are hilarious.

A great weekend trip to Nakuru.

-js
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Comments

Lane|The Great Rift Valley on

Seems like you had a fantastic time! the Great Rift has beautiful and amazing valleys! It is true...the baboon can really inflict serious wounds with its sharp teeth on someone so it is good you didn't get too close

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