Nairobi, August, 2017. I stumble upon a WHO report. Apparently, the life expectancy of a Kenyan male is 61 years. It seems I have 35 years before I call it quits. yes, I’m that young. Like most of the pretentious City people, this Friday evening has found me at Artcaffe, the Oval, having coffee. I detest the taste of coffee but for the scent. No offence to Artcaffe, I have limited knowledge on coffee – Did I mention I spent my childhood picking coffee? Story for another day.
‘Are we on for Menengai Crater?’ That is a text from Rose. ‘Of course we are’ – I message back. Lies! I have no appetite for outdoor activities. Seemingly, I not only have to worry about my depleting lifespan but I now have to go circle some geographical feature in Nakuru County. Yes, Menengai Crater is in Nakuru County. Forgive me, I was raised on a farm at the slopes of Mt. Elgon; vegetation and voluminous stones do not begin to excite me.
The Nairobi- Nakuru drive took about two hours. That is how Saturday morning found me in Nakuru town. 10 AM or thereabout. I am donning grey sweat shorts and rubbers. My bottle of water is still full. Why am I here? Certainly not for the Crater.
How do we get to Menengai Crater? My chauffeur asks a local after a few minutes of driving in circles. Eunice, do not kill me; I always wanted to use the word chauffeur. As it happens, the alleged local only knows of Menengai- a brand of soap.
No one goes to the father except through me- I suppose that is what Google Maps was communicating. Through the power of the internet and less than twenty minutes later, we arrive at the entrance to the Crater. The guards(guards?) are friendly, happy, shocked even. My assumption is that they are not used to receiving an excited lot like The TREK.
Rose and Kris plunge into a discussion on diameters and Pi D! Apparently their chat was meant to guide us on how long we would take going around the Crater. Pi D! Who cares? Must you always remind us that you have eaten book? Can’t you just be normal? Who discusses Pi D on a Saturday morning? But well, they have eaten book – this Trek lot. Rose pays up- women empowerment is a good thing. Breathe in, it was not much- very affordable.
The friendly guards advise us to drive up to the Menengai Crater Viewpoint. Less than five minutes, we are there. My pretentious Nairobi people are gasping and struggling to breathe – the view is supposedly too beautiful to take in. What a view, let us do a run around it! A Trekker says. A run around it? Are they serious? The last time I ran was running away from problems! I was not about to let down the male gender though.
We are running, walking, singing. We are children once again. Am I out of breath? Unapologetically yes. Rose and Kris are trying too hard to seem fit. Joseph, Joe and Moses are trailing behind pretending to be taking photographs. I survived. Even the photographers survived. But where is Eunice?
Apart from our singing, it is quiet. Did I mentioned we also had a meditation session? Nothing religious, just a moment of reflection. Did it take an hour or more to cover the circumference? Memory fails me, 34 years to go. Where are the Pi D folks?
The rains have not been kind to the Crater though, one has to look out lest they spiral to the floor of the Crater. Put on pants, unless you have legs like mine.
Almost a year later, I still do not have an appetite for vegetation, hills and bird watching. How did I manage to recollect all these? Perhaps Menengai Crater was a sight for sore eyes. Perhaps TREK made it worthwhile. I do not know; I do not care.
Are we on for the next adventure? Of course we are!