The designated departure time from the school had been set for 8.30 a.m. The bus left at 9.30 a.m., plying the Ngong road route to Kiserian heading towards the hike rendezvous at Olepolos. Eleven jolly-spirited mentees together with our mentor, Sir Johnte (officially known as John Ocheche – lecturer, Strathmore Institute of Mathematical Sciences) and Chris Momanyi (Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences) begun our excursion after placing an order for a full goat, which some hikers thought would be impossible to finish.
The information given prior insinuated that we would follow a trail that would only take two hours. That was a reasonable activity for us, especially since some of us had not eaten anything in anticipation of the goat awaiting us. In hindsight, taking off with our stomachs empty was a terrible idea. Case in point: two kilometres into the thicket that made up the hike trail, we had all finished the one litre bottle we each had.
Steep slopes welcomed us. We had been moving in between thorny shrubs that everyone avoided by adopting a wooden stick that helped pave the way where there was no way. I nicknamed mine shoti because of its stature. The thorny shrubs were nicknamed ngoja kidogo (wait a little). In spite of our caution, we all had thorn scars. Woe unto you if the thorn caught your flesh. You had to pay your dues to it or wait to be helped, hence the name, ngoja kidogo. A rocky climb revealed a very beautiful landscape with the view of the hill we were supposed to hike. We thought that climb was the toughest but we had yet to see the worst.
When we finally saw a paved road, we realised we had been too dreadful of what remained since at the time we were talking about how lions roam freely in such clearings, especially on such a hot day. Everyone was demonstrating their expertise in the matter in how they would handle bumping into the king of the jungle. I would definitely run. Nonetheless, we finally walked on an actual road and we were elated. At the crossroad, we walked into a dry riverbed and reached the base of the hill. The meandering river had rocks as hot as coal and a surrounding thicket that we presumed harboured dangerous life so no one dared walk near it.
We walked in a single file like ants following our guide, Mr Momanyi. Sir Johnte was at the end of the line ensuring everyone was safe. Some of the hikers zoned out after finding out we would use the same route back. They waited for us at the riverbed as we continued hiking upwards. They requested we use an murram road on our way back, thinking it was shorter. All decisions we made while on that trail were made out of hunger and fatigue. Were it not for the motivation of nyama choma, some of us would have opted to have the bus transport us for the rest of the way back. This was on one of those short-lived breaks that we sighted an electricity line that assured us of almost crossing the finish line. We had been walking for almost four hours when the guide told us we were close although we had our reservations about this statement. It could have been similar to the well-known phrase – noo vaa – that certain of our country men will tell you to say that your destination is “just around the corner”.
Finally, we reached our destination. The last round of photos was taken and we went to devour our meal. We had to put pressure on the kitchen department to bring in the meat quickly. It was a five course meal for the books. Roast goat meat first with corn meal, better known as ugali, with a side plate of kachumbari. Then came the wet, fried meat and more ugali. Our fellow mentee, Robert, had counted the number of bones of the goat and questioned if it was a full goat. To our astonishment, it actually wasn’t and we had to sort it out. All in all, we had fun and enjoyed the day and learnt from the conversations we had as gents. I would recommend it, and definitely do it again.
This article was written by Joblewis Osano.
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