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Standing Atop The World in Kitui County — Nzambani Stone

Sign to Nzambani Rock in Kitui, Kenya

Kitui County isn’t quite a place you’d add to your bucket list. It’s wedged between the Kenyan coast — with its destination sites such as Mombasa, Lamu, Malindi and Watamu — and the natural wonder of the Great Rift Valley and its wildlife and history. North is Mt. Kenya and south is Mt. Kilimanjaro. Or maybe you’d visit Zanzibar just across the border in Tanzania. Or head across the northern border to Ethiopia.

But, if you do find yourself in Kitui, it does have at least one landmark. Perhaps every remote location in the world has some unique land formation that looks like every other “unique” land formation. Nzambani Stone [or rock] may just be a huge piece of earth jutting out of the ground like a zit on the face of Mother Earth, but have you ever heard a story like this. more…

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Wandering Around Kitui On My Own, Learning New Survival Skills on Accident to Prevent an Accident

 

While the rest of the family went back to Nairobi, I wanted to spend another night in Kitui. Since it was Christmas and there wasn’t any room at the grandparent’s house, I spent the night in Kitui Town at a hotel called Talents Guesthouse.

At first I was apprehensive. Downtown Kitui is not like downtown Washington, DC. Or Nairobi for that matter. But to my surprise, the hotel was actually quite clean, mosquito free and really quiet. Just a block away it was one huge party, people, mostly teens and young adults, all over the place, music blasting, people everywhere. One street over and it was quiet. I would’ve ventured out there, but I was worn out from being stared at all day already.

Though the hotel was nice, it had it’s peculiarities. When I noticed the complimentary flip flops, looking like a hundred people had already worn them, I passed on them. The bathroom was interesting too. It was a shower, with the standard wires wrapped around the shower head and running down the wall. The wires connect to something that heats the water, which requires a wall switch to turn on. All I kept thinking about was how electricity and water usually don’t mix. more…

Four Generations of Malombes, Comparing Photos from Then and Now

You know, when you blog about traveling, you do what you can to make it worth reading for anyone who, well, reads the blog. But when you’re traveling to visit family, there’s those inevitable photos of family that you really can’t make people appreciate the same way as those in the photos.

Yet, I post these photos anyway, mostly for posterity, and because one day Najwa and her cousins will be able to look at these photos and laugh at how small, how young and how silly they were. Speaking of photos, the lady dug up some old photos from way back in the day of her people. more…

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Getting Around Athi River Traffic on Mombasa Highway on the Way to Kitui

Traffic.

Wherever you go, you can’t avoid it. It’s a phenomenon that when you get on the highway, everyone else gets on at exactly the same time! And when the highway you’re traveling is one lane each direction; you have to share with massive trucks, hundreds of cars and matatus; and it’s Christmas — you best be prepared for anything.

We finally started our journey to Kitui for Christmas. It started off easy enough. Nothing like driving back from the coast [still the worst traffic ever]. We’re rolling, and the sign hung on the walkway over Mombasa Highway just as you get to Athi River should’ve been an omen.

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Within minutes, there’s a line of cars, none moving, stretching into the horizon. No movement moving forward and no cars coming in the opposite direction. Nothing. Everyone’s confused. Traffic can be bad in Kenya, especially Mombasa Highway, but not like this. This was a bad sign considering we just got on the road and could see cars literally to the end of the earth.

As we sat there, I knew it was just a matter of time before Kenyans did what Kenyans do when stuck in traffic. And any Kenyan reading this knows exactly what happens next.

It started with one person, running out of patience and making a break for it.

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Then the fun began… more…

Spending Christmas in Kitui with Nduku’s Extended Family

Welcome to Kitui

After hearing so much about it, there was no way I was going to go to Kenya and not visit Kitui. It’s a small town about 110 miles east of Nairobi. It used to be the capital of the Kitui District in Eastern Province of Kenya, but with the current political reforms, Kitui is now the headquarters of Kitui County, which covers a larger area than the former district did.

more…

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