Too many times there’s been amazing images and stories which the camera wasn’t able to capture…
- Night walk on the streets of the Ethiopian side of Moyale… Barely any electricity around, a few lights here and there in hotels. The streets all look dark, but candles are discretely shining everywhere. It’s a candle-lit street of shops along a dirty and dusty dirt road. A nice image of a pharmacy, with two candles on the counter, and an old man patiently waiting behind.
- In Moyale again, a donkey is walking the streets in hope of coming across some inexistent fresh grass or rather probably realistically for an old rotten leftover fruit. His front legs are attached…each step forward is a huge effort… a bit of a metaphor of the dreams of urban Ethiopians.
- In Northern Kenya, similar story, but it is camels this time, in the bush. One leg is bent and tied back up. The camel only has three legs to walk away on, it makes the job of the herder a lot easier…
In Marsabit, 11pm, I end up in the back of a Landcruiser with Paul to go rescue his motorbike which broke down 15km from town. Once arrived in the full on desert, I ask Sharif, the driver and owner of the car how much he wants for this greatly appreciated service. Sharif is standing up in the back of the 4WD looking down on us, in total darkness, all we can see is his shadow and the amazing star-lit sky in the background and he replies to me and everyone else ‘Friendship is the most important of all things! Friendship will do things that money cannot! Gratitude and friendship is all that matters!’He didn’t charge us a penny for the great favour, and was happy to show his lifelong friend Doti, how much he valued friendship. So thanks Sharif again if you read this, and of course, thanks Doti for introducing us to Sharif and for everything else!
- Shower time in the Samburu bush… Fill a pot with water, a bit of soap, find a nice place in the shade of an acacia tree on the dry riverbed, and naked style ina di bush! Instead of staring at the tiles of your bathroom under neon lights, a desert squirrel walks past you in the sand, with Mount Kenya and other mountains in the cloudy background… just the sound of birds and bees, and a light cool breeze which makes it all delicious!
- In the deep bush of Samburu land, bright green and dusty at the same time, two extremely colourful traditionally dressed Samburu people are walking under the threatening black sky under a rainbow…
- In Baragoi, on Samburu land again, our 4WD stops on the track to pick up three young Morrans (Samburu warriors). They jump in the back of the Landcruiser with me and a scout. Morrans are the only Africans I have seen up to here with such long hair – apart from maybe a few rastas. They wouldn’t stop staring at me and laughing (once again!!). The scout finally translates to me that they love my long hair and found it hilarious, it was like I was ‘Muzungu morran’ (a white warrior!).
- In a small lost small town far out in the bush, the car stops and, as usual, I get surrounded by tens of amazed kids within seconds. They all had looks as if they were observing some sort of creature straight out of a crazy space fiction film walking down the street of their village! They obviously couldn’t believe what they were seeing! David explains to me that these kids have never seen a white man! He laughs and says ‘they don’t even think you’re a human being!!’
- Driving around with David, I explain to him the very western concept of dumpster diving. Amazed, he asks me - ‘So there’s no shortage of food in your country?”,
-‘No, in my country, we have a problem of food waste!”.
- The other day in the news: A Police officer arrested a guy because he had an external hard drive in his bag and put him in jail. The officer thought it was a grenade!!
- Some Kenyans can become quite creative when it comes to making a bit of cash. Sometimes, you’ll find some guys standing along the pot-holed roads with a shovel, filling up holes in the road. When you drive past, they point at the ‘fixed’ hole with their shovel and beg you to stop to hand over a few coins. And it works quite well! Locals pay for the service! The only thing is that these guys don’t really fill up pot-holes all day long really, they just fix one a day, or even every week and then just stand by it…
- Similarly, the Kenyan government recently introduced breathalyzers (which the population apparently found to be scandalous!). So some guys figured out they could make some cash by standing along the road a few hundred meters before police performing breathalyzer tests. They warn people of the police being ahead and offer to replace the drunk drivers. Them are sober, they drive through the police check no problem, and jump out a few hundred meters later asking the drunken owner for a small fee – we never thought of doing that in our countries did we?
- Today… On the way to a new fishing spot, Tom walked out of the minibus realizing his wallet was gone. So we get in the back of a ‘three wheel motorbike’ and tell that guy to race that minibus. Nothing on the bus floor, we would have given up, had almost everyone not tried to convince us to all go together to the police station. The bus is parked full inside the police compound and all searched one by one … quite awkward, and fruitless in the end, but another story for the day!
A selection of photos from Ethiopia and North Kenya have just been freshly posted, just click on the folders in the top right corner. Thanks for your comments! It's good to hear from you all, many kisses and warm smiles from Mombasa!