That night, we all invaded the bar at the hotel. The owner operates on the honor system, and simply counts the Tusker bottle caps the next morning to put it on your bill. Another guest joined our group. He works for the African Wildlife Federation and does a lot of work in Laikipia and at Mpala ranch, mostly with the conservation of Grevy zebras. He was telling us about the first time he went to the US alone for a meeting at the State Department. He arrived at Dulles airport and an Asian cab driver picked him up. He said he was scared that it wasn’t the right car because he expected them to have sent an African driver. When he arrived at the hotel, he asked reception what the best restaurant was. They said “McDonalds.” So, he went to this McDonalds, it being the best restaurant in America, and a homeless man opened the door for him and asked him for a quarter. Again, he got scared and wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do. He called his colleagues back in Kenya and they said he was silly to think that there weren’t beggars in America too.
Next morning, after the hee hawing alarm clock, we said our goodbyes to the staff and Simon, the exceptional cook and headed down the road. The entire mountain side was echoing with the sounds of all the church sermons and testifying. It’s too bad that when some people are hit with the holy spirit, it doesn’t correct your pitch especially if you’re connected to a microphone.
We collected Ole Koringo at the boma where we dropped him off the previous night and deposited him at another boma several kilometers away.
We drove through the small towns to Kitengela, Paul’s hometown. Again, when we were in the thick of the market area cluttered with brightly painted cement storefronts, we stopped to pick up a young woman and her two children. I think Paul said she was the nice girl who used to do their laundry. This is the way things happen here. Poh-leh poh-leh. Slowly slowly.