Friday, 20 April 2012

Enroute to Nairobi

It is seven O’clock in the morning; the air is crisp and moist in Bungoma.  It had rained during the night, and having fallen into a deep slumber, I had known nothing of it.  What an unholy way to sleep!  It had surprised me that if someone had stolen Scorpion, I would have woken up to a grave crisis.  And moreover, the unimaginable might have happened.  Needless to say, I was so tired that when I hit the sack, I had simply passed out.  But, the good news was that I was so refreshed and in a great spirits, which was good for riding.   I had a long day ahead of me.
Ready to Go

Scorpion was laden, refuelled and ready to go.  I decided as it had become my custom to find Simone who was the night duty attendant at the petrol station to bid him farewell.  We exchanged email addresses.  I also begged him to accept a token of appreciation from me, which he did reluctantly.  He said he would keep me in prayers.   With the last farewells, I departed. 

This was going to be a hard ride, but I gently eased myself into it.  This route towards Nairobi forms part of the great North Road; it is a very busy road.  It has also another reputation, vehicle carnage.  It was the more reason that I rode with all my guards on.   My preference would have been to ride through to Arusha (Tanzania), but that was easier said than done.  I decided to take a mile at a time.
The Virgin Bride On the Day I Collected Her

As I rode, I thought about Scorpion.  She was a good bike with a solid bulletproof 650 cc motor.  She had come more than 5500kms, she had tumbled over 15 times, but apart from a shattered wind screen, and a broken handguard, she was rock solid and still going strong.  I couldn’t but love her.  The more I rode her, the more I fell in love with her.  In areas of sand and mud she was deemed heavy, but in on a paved road, she cruised effortlessly.  In South Africa, if you rode a BMW, a KTM or a Ducati, you had “the” bike.  If you rode the DL 650, no one gave you as much as a glance.   In other words, the DL was an underrated bike.  I had spent a year researching on a suitable bike to undertake this adventure.  I had read and reread all kinds of reviews on the DL.   The facts spoke for themselves. The DL 650 was undoubtedly the most suitable bike.  Even the yellow colour was a matter that was weighed carefully.  My reasoning was that it was more visible and it was chosen specifically for reasons of conspicuity.  With these thoughts, I covered many miles.

Meanwhile, I stopped once to stretch and again at Nakuru for Lunch and to replenish my water stock.   As I rode on toward Nairobi, I mused over the first time I had come to this city in 1981 to visit my uncle.  In those days, Nairobi was the most sophisticated metropolitan city in East Africa: A city of culture: fashion and music; business, very tall modern shinning buildings, the best paved roads.  The entire city exuded glamour and refinement.  Coming from rural Uganda, all these things were breath taking and a source of great wonderment.  For a naive youngster like me, it came as a shock when I greeted a man standing on a Nairobi street who responded aggressively by asking me: “why are you greeting me; are you a thief?”  This profoundly perturbed me and offended my cultural sensibility.  Where I come from, my people will greet you even if they don’t know you; more so youngsters are expected to greet those who are older.  What wrong had I done!  Even though I was a kid I also had my pride.  I still shake my head at the thought of this event and feel the chill run down my spine.   Every time I have thought of this experience in my adult life, I have attributed it to the proliferation of individualism in its most corrupt and extreme form.   It is a cancer that is eroding “Ubuntu”.  It is has been reduced to a shell or a mere theoretical construct. An instrument used to control the African mind.
First Stop Enroute to Nairobi

Well, I reached Nairobi around 2pm.  My deepest desire was to continue to Namanga and into Tanzania, but I decided to catch up with my Jesuit friend, Fr. Josephat Kabutta who was my host for the remainder of the day.

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