Just as soon as we were recovered from 16 hours of traveling with a restless child, we were back on the road for a 6-7 hour road trip to Mombasa. Mombasa is Kenya’s second largest city, a resort town on the coast. The road there, Mombasa Highway, is a highway that you want to traverse before the sun goes down. Freaks don’t come out at night on Mombasa Highway; bandits do.
We rented a minivan, piled in nine deep and hit the road. With Nairobi in our rear view, I was looking forward to see Kenya’s countryside. How does the country look away from the hustle and bustle of the city? How do people live away from the skyscrapers and matatus [I’ll explain them later in this post]? How are we going to last with two two-year-olds who seem to like each other one moment and fighting the next?
As we left the city, it became obvious that development is sparse, few and far between, or non-existent at all. And that makes for a beautiful countryside.
How the people live in the countryside amaze me. I’m sure there are many people with normal homes, but there sure are a bunch of people living in rudimentary homes. Homes went from modern, concrete apartment buildings to tiny dwellings built of whatever can be salvaged from tree branches, hardened mud and a ton of corrugated tin. If that.
As you get closer to Mombasa, the tribes there build mud huts with grass/straw roofs. They’re actually cool-looking, exotic to me, but thinking about what it’s like living in one, well, I’m glad we’re driving to a resort hotel.
And the retail options aren’t too glitzy either. Unlike in America, all along this “highway” are buildings, structures, homes, literally right up to the road. There are also speed bumps all along the way as you get to the towns straddling the road. People come out to the cars hawking goods , everything from freshly-picked fruits and vegetables to live chickens.