Usually the night before a road trip I'm jittery with excitement and anxious with worry. I think about missing my alarm clock, or forgetting my camera or sometimes even misplacing my money and having to push back the whole trip entirely. Well the night before the Ndovu (meaning elephant in Swahili) express bus from Mashuru to Kajiado was no different.
I think I set atleast 3 alarms to go off from 3:55am to 4:10 am all overlapping so that I was sure Tash and I would wake up to catch the bus.
We got up grumpily grabbed our bags and locked up our room and proceeded to stumble around in the pitch black night as we tried to find our way to the compound gate. As we reached the gate we not only realized that we were locked inside, but that we also weren't sure who exactly had the keys. Let alone if we should wake them up. So as we stood there starring at each other trying to decide whether it would be easier to climb up the fence, or run back to knock on doors and piss people off. I peeked at my phone only to realize that we had just under ten minutes before our bus would whip by and leave us.
And believe me, the stories we had heard about drivers making eye contact with people chasing the bus and not bothering to stop had instilled a significant appreciation for timeliness in us. Little did we know, we would be the only ones on time.
Luckily one of the guardsmen had remembered that we were leaving and came out to unlock the gate.
Anyway there we were Tash, myself, frank, and a handy man from the school, trading stories and cracking jokes when five am rolled around. We looked around expectantly only to realize that we would be waiting quite abit.
Oh not only that, we all soon remembered that we were standing in the dark, in hyena and wild animal territory. As the men began detailing stories about hyennas, leopards and cheetahs I realized missing the bus because I had been devoured by an animal was slowly becoming more and more likely. 5:30am rolls around.
There we are, twiddling our thumbs, thinking about the extra hour of sleep we could've had. 5:45am the sun begins to rise.
5:55am my patience is wearing thin. I'm contemplating returning to bed and saying good riddance to Ndovu.
6:00am the rumblings of the bus are finally audible. Thank God!
We piled into the bus silently hoping that the 3 hour journey through rough roads would be uneventful and that it was. I've never seen so many people fit into a bus before. When I say I felt like a sardine..... Well I actually mean it.
The best part of the drive was getting to practice hearing kimaasai in regular conversation. I've actually learned a lot and translating wasn't as difficult as I expected.
The cutest thing was when this old man walked on the bus and greeted another old man sitting next to Tash and I by saying, "Pakiteng". Essentially meaning cow.
We thought that was interesting because usually to greet another person you say, "Supa" and they say "Ipa!".
When we met up with our parents in Kajiado we asked them what had the men meant and my parents explained that to solidify a friendship, most people give the other a gift. Like a cow or a goat or even a chicken, and from then on, that person calls you, "the one who gave me _____". For example "Pakiteng" means "the one who gave me a cow".
"Pakine = the one who gave me a goat."
I thought that was the most adorable thing ever.
Oh also spent the day with my parents and Cynthia at their school. We were hosting a parents meeting!
Anyway here are some quick photos from the trip so far! Enjoy!