We were up early our first morning in Africa and enjoyed a lavish breakfast buffet at our hotel, Parklands Sports Club, a comfortable, western-style hotel in Nairobi that was actually much less expensive than some of the spartan hotels we stayed at elsewhere on our trip where there were no other competing hotels. In fact, Parklands actually had wi-fi — the only place during our two-week stay in Africa that I was able to check emails or access the internet. And my Verizon Iphone did not work at all in Africa. I wasn’t quite prepared to be off the grid for that long. It was kind of a culture shock. And it was difficult to be out of communication with my loved ones during that time. (Yes, they have internet cafes all over the place in both Kenya and Uganda, but trying to use them proved worthless. The computers freeze up constantly and if they are working, most of the time when you try to get into your email account you get blocked — until you can get home and straighten it out. Apparently, trying to access your email from Africa is a red flag.)
Emails checked and sent, we finished breakfast and loaded up into a van heading west where we planned to visit two schools in Kenya before crossing the border into Uganda. The main road was in excellent condition for much of the way, leading me to believe that maybe most of the roads would be that good. Ha!
Our trip took us through the beautiful Rift Valley, part of the rift system that stretches from the Middle East to southern Africa. The views from the road miles down to the floor of the volcano-studded valley were absolutely breathtaking. I’m sure there are more beautiful sights elsewhere on earth, but I haven’t personally seen any.
Along the road we had to stop a couple of times so families of baboons could cross, and we also spotted packs of wild zebras grazing along the highway on several occasions. I made our driver stop to I could take pictures.
Eventually, the quality of the road started to deteriorate. After a few hours of travel the road became so bad that we had to slow down to half our normal speed. It ended up taking us all day to reach our first destination, the Huma School.