The Cold was harshly creeping in, the air crisp and a motionless morning were slowly but patiently greeting the morning sun. The time was 4:30 am, the date 19 September 2020. Baringo County had slapped me on the face with a sense of belonging ensued by the overwhelming hospitality from every individual we had come across in that area. My fitness coach was just in time for our morning workout routine. 40 pushups down, 20 chin-ups up, and slowly the birds joined in the tune while crickets switched off awaiting the sun to climb down the valleys again. This was the fifth county I was visiting after Nakuru, Kericho, and Kajiado County just after my evening end of semester exams. It was an adventure in which we dared to venture into the unknown and test our limits to see how fit we needed to get. The area had produced legends. The former president Daniel T Arap Moi, Eliud Kipchoge trained there and the Tugen warriors would live up to 130 years in ancient times. The terrain was harsh and so were the wild animals which would frequent the area every time. There were leopards along with nests of snakes that would slither all over. This was the Rift valley.
Mau forest was on the brink of death. Deforestation, drying up of streams, lack of wild birds and animals was the order of the day. What happened to our love for nature? Kenya is blessed with forests, hills, valleys, lakes, rivers, waterfalls that are undocumented. We visited all these undocumented places and I must say they are as beautiful as Kenyan myth and legend. Technological advancement is needed to educate people on the effects of deforestation as it causes downstream and the lack of food in the future thereof.
The week that followed all these led my coach to Kisumu – his home town- to attend to a family issue and my adventures into Uasin Gishu. The use of Physics, Mathematics, Geography, Chemistry and Biology, and the spirit of Harambee in farming and tracking the produce amazed me. Not forgetting the deep knowledge used in cultivating and harvesting fresh products. All these disciplines play a critical role with regard to fitness and farming in thriving under harsh conditions.
Things were coming back to normal and the president had just announced the reopening of the country. The months that had preceded this were eventful. The pandemic had just struck and businesses closed. Everything was a mystery even to the president himself. All this while, I spent time on my online classes, working on a food application dubbed Lisha Mkenya with my classmates and occasionally working with the boys down at the horse farm.
My school mentor did not cease to always check up on me. He mostly derived his quotes from Josemaria, a catholic priest who formed Opus Dei on the principle that we can find God in our everyday experiences. Though I am a staunch Adventist, his works, perseverance in the Spanish war and commitment to God played a critical role in my spiritual life. Just as Josemaria introduced Christ to people in time of war, we introduced compound fitness to each of the fifteen counties we visited. Mostly, sleeping in humble homes and with people who knew little about us. They use dogs as companions, the Maasai use the walking stick as their weapon and the fishermen chant the Harambee philosophy to sail their boats deep into the lakes; life is just peaceful.
May 17th, 2020 saw me see off my best friend Joy who had succumbed to cancer. This left me confused and most of all so emotional and depressed. I however chose to cherish the little moments we had had together and make better use of them while I’m alive. God rest her soul in eternal peace.
The new normal had us visiting the Mount Kenya region. The region of Mumbi the wife of Gikuyu. The land of Mumbi was blessed abundantly. Nothing could supersede the might by which the mountain stood. Myth, folk tales surrounded the tallest heritage our country has. Moses is believed to have passed there with the covenant and Lake Alice has her wonders too. It is believed that God lived there and going by what I saw, his shelter was divine in that mountain. We got to the first camp and got back just in time to finish our day’s trip. Unfortunately, I caught a cold that night prompting me to go back home and leave my coach to climb the mountain to the peak alone the next day
“I’d like to be a pilot”, words of Kirimi, a 9-year-old pupil at Miamoja primary school. We sat waiting for the matatu to drive us off to Meru, my last stage onto Nairobi. The touts had just placed the luggage. This was preceded by an idyllic mood, the dusty soil settling, rumbling cars growing still, and the windbreakers simmering. A hushed tone rents the air. I grew numb as if to think there was trouble, ’wana wa Mungu’, were his first words. It was God passing, with all His might and chariots. His angels took charge in the little known Timau bus station. For fifteen minutes, God sat there, at Timau on one of the slopes facing Mount Kenya. Never have I ever experienced such a random act of God. Kirimi grasped my hand pressing onto my sore blisters and looked at me, then followed an Amen that culminated in the most powerful 15 minutes with God ever, in my life. This got me thinking of how God had been gracious to Kenya. Only politics was dividing us devoid of the fact that Miamoja primary school didn’t have a functional library.
Refacing Mount Kenya means conservation of our world heritage, fresh food for all, taking care of God’s love for us, and most of all, being there for Kenya in which Kirimi can be a pilot and should never forget that he was once a shepherd.
This article was written by Samuel Omambia, a Bachelor of Business Information Technology student.