Wednesday, May 12, 2010

We’ve reached Mabanga!

We are now close to the Uganda border in a country area outside Bungoma, at the Mabanga Agricultural Training Centre, which belongs to the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture. We loaded into two vans this morning and drove up the main road to Eldoret, crossing the equator again. Lunch was at a hotel in the center of town. I ordered fish curry and chappatis and was surprised but not disappointed to come face to face with a whole tilapia, eyes and all, on my plate. To accompany it I drank a bottle of Stoney Tangawizi, which is ginger beer bottled by Coca Cola (no escaping the multinationals here.) I remember Stoney from Tanzania and enjoy it, though I am not usually a great fan of carbonated drinks.

Some of our group escaped briefly and bought fabric and other goodies, but they were quickly rounded up and put back in the vans for the rest of the journey. The road had started off well. In fact the surface is so good near Nakuru that rumor has it that a certain FUM staff member from the US got stopped for speeding on it, but managed to sweet talk her way out of an on the spot fine and an appearance in court next day. We were stopped a couple of times by police but waved on when they realized we were in a private hire vehicle (which is not regulated) and not a matatu, which now have strict rules about overcrowding and safety following some horrible accidents.

After Eldoret the road was pretty awful and sometimes it was better to have eyes closed rather than wonder what was going to be round the blind corner while we were overtaking a long truck. But we arrived here and are now happily settled in. A cup of tea and home made bun at 4 o’clock made a big difference. The rest of the Central Executive Committee, including Ray, clerk of my Section and Kenya from Cuba, have all just arrived all the way from Nairobi so there have been more hugs and greetings.

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