The last bit of business in Nanyuki was to do some house-hunting. BOMA needs a more permanent set-up for housing our BOMA Fellows and interns and we are looking for a place that is large enough to provide housing as well as accommodate our office. Most importantly, it needs to be in a secure and safe location.
Nanyuki used to be a sleepy town of local people and white Kenyans who would occasionally come to town to frequent the Settler’s Store. Then a large British military base was built on the edge of town. Upwards of 9000 soldiers have descended on the town like locusts, eating up all the local housing (including half of the cottages at the Mt. Kenya Safari Club) as well as consuming massive amounts of alcohol. Day or night, you see drunk soldiers on the streets of Nanyuki. Desert camouflage vehicles clog the roads. The security detail at the Mt. Kenya Safari Club told me that under no circumstances should guests go into town at night, risking the isolated stretch of road where cars are frequently attacked. Even the local matatu driver bringing the night staff to the Safari Club gets a police escort.
“What about the British officers and wives that live at the Safari Club?” I asked. “Oh, no one will mess with them,” I am told, “because everyone knows they are armed.” My waiter at breakfast told me that a group of soldiers had arrived at the Safari Club gates at 3 am, drunk as skunks.
So we were quite pleased to find a landlord who had a nice 3 bedroom house to rent in a safe part of town. Her only condition for renting the house was “no British!” The price was still high, and out of reach of our budget, but Kura will continue the negotiations after I leave.
Sarah and I took a saloon car to Nairobi with a driver who appeared to know only the words “buckle up” in English and virtually no Swahili. Somehow I manage to get dropped at the Fairview Hotel and Sarah at Wildebeest camp. Sarah will take an early bus the next day to visit a friend in Arusha, Tanzania and I will don my safari company hat to inspect a few properties in Maasai Mara. I had to cancel dinner with friends that night in Nairobi, still needing a night of antibiotics, pepto and room service. I had an important meeting the next day and if I could get through another day of travel and the inspection of three camps in Maasai
Mara, I would be able to arrive at my favorite camp in the Mara – Sekenani. I was looking forward to seeing my great friend, Lkapur, the manager of Sekenani, who is also a Rendille from northern Kenya. Lkapur is the most gracious host in all of the Mara and I knew a few nights by the fire with Lkapur was just the thing I need for a full recovery.