Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Jeremy here. We just got back from the walkathon, which was, as expected, full of challenges.

WARNING: This post has some explicit and disgusting content. Do not read if you are easily upset or revolted.

Debby, Bill, and American Sponsor walkers Mary, Linda, Carmen, and Hatley arrived at the house in Isinya. The house is much more crowded with eight people than with two. We pack and get ready.

Before the walk began for real, we have a short day walk just down the road from Isinya. This was where I discovered that I needed to wear my better shoes for the real walk. This was also the day that when I asked a 7th grader from my singing club how her Christmas break had been, she reported that it had not been good -- because her stepmother had murdered her father. Immediately, I realized we could stop complaining about the cold weather of Europe.

Walkathon proper began with a walk to a church where the BEADS girls who just finished high school were given a graduation ceremony complete with "Pomp and Circumstance" performed on kazoos by the wazungu [white folks]. Unfortunately I spent the entire ceremony squatting in a concrete outhouse with my first real attack of diarrhea since arriving in Kenya. It was... unpleasant. Exhausting. The kind of diarrhea where I thought to myself "I will probably never be able to leave this outhouse" and "I hope that whoever finds me in here will pull up my pants before taking me to whatever passes for a hospital nearby so I might expire with dignity" and "you know what would really hit the spot right now? Morphine." However, after an hour or so and a dose of Lomotil, everything was really fine.

Later, at the Namanga River Lodge, I discovered that I have been colonized by intestinal worms! (Do not ask me how I discovered this.) When I asked the nurse about it, she said "oh, you haven't been taking worm pills regularly?" Sigh.

DAYS 2 & 3
We camped in Amboseli outside the manyatta of the girl whose alternate coming-of-age ceremony BEADS is sponsoring. On the way to the camp we were joined by a sponsor from Sacramento named Betsy and her 19-year-old daughter Jessica. In addition to the white folks on the walk, there were 40 or so 8th grade graduates; about 20 warriors providing protection, support, and amusement; 3 drivers (for the 2 passenger vans and the supply truck) and a cooking staff of like ten. Here is our cook tent:

Here is Saitoti, the Maasai night watchman at Top Ride, slurping blood directly from the carcass of the special cow killed for the ceremony:

DAY 4 & 5

Our second campsite was near the "big rocks," so we climbed them:

We celebrated Linda's birthday with an amazing night of dancing (and showing-off) by the girls and the warriors. No pictures, unfortunately.

Somewhere along the line Bridget and I got very good at sneaking up on and grabbing tiny baby goats and sheep. Here is one of those. This is probably our favorite thing to do. We love picking up baby animals. They're so SOFT.

We walked for a ways but had to drive for an hour to get to our campsite inside of Amboseli National Park. Hyenas, elephants, giraffes, cape buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, etc, all visible. More delicious goat stew. I get hit with another case of diarrhea, but though I didn't think I was going to die, I went to bed with a fever, shaking with chills. Man, I haven't had a fever in so long!

On the last morning (for me and Bridget, anyway -- the others went on to the fancy Serena Lodge) the light seemed way weaker than it should have been for a cloudless 9am near the equator. Turns out: solar eclipse! Since it's hard to take a picture of an eclipse without jeopardizing the intergrity of one's camera (and retinae) I could only take a picture of the shadow cast by the lattice of a plastic chair. See those crescent shapes? That's the shape of the sun with the moon in front of it!

We rode back to Isinya in hired matatus, with frequent stops to allow me to void more of my apparently endless supply of liquid shit. I sleep feverishly for another night.

This is not a very complete travelogue, but I wanted to give you something. The walk was a lot of fun, and filled with adventure, which I may have failed to convey. Perhaps Bridget will fill in some of the gaps! Hooray for Bridget!

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