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Challenge

THAT’S WHAT WE SAID

Have you ever been on a blind date? Basically you don’t know what to expect. But hope for the best. 

This felt like one of those. We hadn’t hiked in a while. So we searched for places to hike in Machakos county. The search as usual didn’t yield much. But one.

It’s a budget hike so we are all using public transport. A 14 seater van in town at the railways station was ready for our attention. Off we took. Laughter after laughter as the journey became shorter. Soon we arrived in Machakos Town. 

Weird part none of us had ever been on this hill. “IVETI HILL”.  None of us had any idea where to start. You know, just like a blind date. 

Whenever you feel lost there is always a special someone to point you to the right direction, in Kenya, The BodaBoda guys are always the best. Google Local guides should utilize them. 

Apparently the town is at the foot of the hill. So we are directed to stroll slightly out of the CBD and take a left turn near some girls school. My memory fails me on the name.

This looks like an easy one. That’s what we said.

It’s a dirt road. It hasn’t rained for a while now. The dust is powdery. Our shoes sink in as we move. It is not that steep. We can make it to the other side by 1 pm. That’s what we said.

It eases up on us, the view, oh yes the view, that’s one thing that is never compromised. You can see the entire Machakos Town from up there, including the Mua hills a few kilometers away. That’s enough, let’s forge ahead.

It’s 9 am, the sun has given birth and the children are overhead debating on who’s the hottest in town. We are all sweating, Jackets off, tied around the waists. Water bottles hanging on everyone’s hands half empty, or is it half full? Whatever. We pause, we gaze, the view keeps getting better and better, but we can’t stick around for long. We still have a few kilometers to cover. That’s what we said. 

It opens up, nature has its surprises. In the middle of this dry area there is a green spot, a dense forest. A cool canopy. This gives us hope. We all rush underneath. And now Moses wants to race. I’m never afraid of challenges so I take him on. Evans joins in. Guys it’s not a real competition. That’s what they said

It’s an easy win. Looks like I’ll be done with the hike in a few. That’s what I said.

It’s 1pm already. We are not  sure what’s left of the hike, but we are sure the distance covered can get the Israelites out of the desert within a day. 

Endurance is key in such moments and by now our limits are being put to the test. Water bottles now empty, dry lips, no wild fruits to apply like they did on Simba’s face. We take a break underneath some dense pine trees. We all sit quietly. The trees are soothing us with a song. It’s melodious.

Never ask a Kamba for directions. Never. They were long distance traders back in the days. And that gene lives on to date. That’s the mistake we made when we started. ‘Nova’. That’s how they answered throughout the journey.

It’s now 3pm and we’ve just found a tarmac road, this gives us hope. We were told there is a  section of the road that defies gravity. We should be able to see water or maybe a manual transmission car on a neutral gear move uphill. 

We are desperate now. It’s almost 4pm, we started at 8am with happy faces and breakfast filled bellies. Now we are all running on empty.

Some of the members took a ride from bodaboda the moment we hit the tarmac. They were done. At least they will make lunch orders for us.

Finally we are downhill. We need a meal, or else we will start feeding on each other. There is a lady selling bananas. We all crowd the ‘kibanda’ . That will be enough sugar until we get a good meal.

The energies are back, we have to see the ‘no gravity spot.’ We get a taxi and we drive off for almost 15 mins. We come across some guys by the road side with water cans. This must be it. 

I thought I would find a waterfall. Well, we are in Ukambani, none in  the near sight. One of the boys approaches us with water in a bottle and pours on the road. Nothing happens, or so it seemed to most of us. It’s just water spreading on the road. They try to convince us otherwise. Then a guy with a manual car notices the crowd and stops, puts the car in neutral and gets out. Well the car moves up a few meters then stops. I guess that’s a more practical approach to it than the water in a bottle. We’ll buy it. For now.

We drive off, it’s lunch time. Maybe dinner, who knows. It’s 5pm. It’s a good meal. Laughter after laughter as the plates empty. Nobody wants to go back home immediately, so we find a spot to relax our sore bodies and  filled bellies.

Machakos Peoples Park. It’s a great spot. Green grass, a water pond, some sort of water fountain,  an amusement park for the kids, an outdoor amphitheater, a restaurant sort of setup with loud music. That’s all we needed to end the day. That’s what we said.

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