“……then I go for a walk………”, Lake Baringo, Jan 9th, 2011

On my journey I have lost track of days and dates or at least they make no differences. Today it does as I go for a trip with Susanne and Lukas who belong to the working people. So its Friday, January 7th 2011, lunch time and we meet at their house. They have prepared pasta, I like it. As I will only go for a view days I prepared my small rucksack leaving the big one here at their house. First time without my lap top and all other equipment, will see how that works out. With motorbike taxis (boda bodas) to the bus station and then with the “Matatus” (minibuses) on to our 5 hour trip. We reach Baringo just as darkness kicks in. The “Roberts Camp” is a great, expensive, lodge and campsite. The little huts go for 40€ a night but a tent can be pitched for 10 Dollars. That’s great, for those who have a tent, like Susanne and Lukas. I don’t have a tent but I do have learned how the game is played in Africa. After standing around for a while not even getting close to touching 40 Dollars and after pretending to leave to another place I hear what I was waiting for: “Maybe I can do something for you…” Well, what can I say, I end up in a ready to sleep in big tent with a nice mattress, blankets, a table and chairs in front of it for just 10 Dollars. The deal is that I don’t sign into the registration book and that I move my stuff out in the morning, so the boss can not see that the tent was used………..fair enough. I should not support such behaviour / deals, I have not in the past and will avoid it in the future, but there are exceptions. A self-made fruit salad for dinner and I sleep like a baby, surrounded by the noise of hippos, who come onto the campsite at night.

The morning I spend in front of my tent, enjoying the lake view as well as my cookies and read the economist of November last year. (I bought it in Addis Abeba for a pretty low price and now I discover it has written on it “for in-flight reading only, not for sale”, smile) Susanne and Lukas join and we do some bird watching, taking it easy as Lukas does not feel well.

After one of the best showers in Kenya so far I take a walk into the village Baringo. It reminds me of varies western movies – heat and dust, one dirt road and some old houses left and right of it, that is it. No electricity, water only from the lake. People hanging around, watching the stranger walking in. Doors close, others open. Children running towards me only to turn around in safe distance. Who will it be that asks me for a duel? But then I find a little store, buy 2 bottles of water and the ice is broken. People are friendly, accept that I already booked the boat tours for the next day and show me the path to the lake. Soon later, a bit beyond the village into the bush a young men invites me to a “circumcision” ritual. All the boys who had the procedure done had to live in the bush for one month. Today they are coming back to their families and that is celebrated big. I am not allowed to take pictures of the ritual but of the massive pot of “Ugali” (the local dish served with everything, maybe comparable with potatoes in Germany) which will serve 150 people. The offer to try some is spoken out rather with the expectation of a clear “no, thanks” but when I say “yes, sure” I become their hero. Quickly I am pushed inside one of the little huts, being touched by children, being respected by the elderly and the ugali comes with vegetables and goat meat. I really like it and it seems I am the first white person they see eating the local dishes. Then the attention switches to the boys who come out of the bush and the celebrations begins with a church ceremony. I am happy to have witnessed that.

The hours between 4pm and sunset I spend with Susanne (Lukas is still ill) and a local guide on a so called “nature walk” into the rift valley. Not only does the guide show us scorpions (including their poison) and ostrich eggs, he also tells us a lot about the local traditions and developments. The 2 most fascinating stories are these: To get a wife here you have to pay 10 cows, 3 camels and 20 goats which is the equivalent of about 80.000 Schilling or 800€. The wife will do all physical work like building the house and carrying the water. The men take care of the goats and or the tourists. Similar to Ethiopia a man is not respected if he does not have children soon after marriage. If after one year there is no child, he can have a second wife while the old one stays with him as well. The first child of the second wife is handed to the first wife as “her” child. That is kind of nice I think. Even nicer is what happens if the second wife also does not “produce” and the man might be the problem. What do you think they do????? Well, here is what our guide told us: “In this case I call my best friend over, then I go for a walk and when I come back things are done.”

Not as crazy but also interesting, when they have a drought like last year and they run out of fish, they start eating the hippos -- and – the honey is taken from the bee’s nest at night, naked and with the smoke of fire on the skin. For dinner I have chips and then I go to my big tent and comfy mattress early, the deal has worked a second time.

5:55am my watch gets me out of bed. Lukas feels better and we go for our sunrise lake Baringo boat trip. The setting is amazing, the animals wonderful. We get to see king fisher, hippos, crocodiles and sea eagles as well as different islands, hot springs and local fisher men. They are the once providing us with little prepared fish. This way we get to see the sea eagles “hunting” very close. It is quiet impressive.

Upon return I say good bye to my 2 companions and take a matatu to Nakuru, a rather bigger town just south of the equator line, famous for its National Park, the second biggest in Kenia. I have no information where to stay or how to get tickets for the park and so on but I have time and let the flow kick in. It works. I find a great hotel with CNN and even 3G reception on my phone, I get my yoghurt dinner, a news paper covering the Sudan referendum which starts today and I even meet a trustworthy guide for the national park. Now I only need to find other people to share the costs …………………………………    .

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