Friday, August 20, 2010


I can't believe it's Friday already! This time three weeks from now I will be in Nairobi doing some last minute running around before heading to the airport for my flight back to the island!

Fridays are not usually my favorite days here in Kenya. Fridays are Muchaka days. While I feel like a horrible person writing that one of my least favorite things to do here in Kenya is go to an orphanage to feed babies, I just can't help it. Everyone else here has gotten quite attached to one or two of the babies in particular, but I have yet to do so, which may be part of the problem I suppose. All of the older kids that I actually like to play with are on break from school right now so it was only the babies today. I don't sit there hating my life but I don't sit there loving it either. To add to my love of Muchaka, I had a toddler leak all over my leg. They use cloth diapers which I have learned, are not very effective.

After lunch, we were lucky enough to have Denis take us to the caves that are a 45 minute hike form the orphanage. The hike was awesome. It always blows my mind how much the vegetation and landscape changes in such little distance. One second you're in a desert with giant cacti, and the next minute you're among coffee and tea plantations surrounded by mountains. This hike was no exception. We ended up hiking through this incredible forest that was full of really tall trees and a dirt path. There were butterflies fluttering round everywhere and the sunlight was streaking through the trees. I actually felt like I was in some computer animated forest in some fairy tale. It was that incredible. Eventually we entered into a clearing with little lean-tos scattered all along the edges of a barren field that seemed to be a garden that had already been harvested. Smoke rose from for a couple of the lean-tos, and upon closer examination, they were actually little houses used by men to guard the farm from the elephants the inhibit the forest. The houses are dug into the ground, so only the triangular roof is visible above ground level, with smoke billowing out the edges. When entering into the house, you have to take a few steps down into the earth. They are deep enough for the men who inhabit them to stand upright.

Denis wasn't entirely sure where we would find the caves, so we were lucky enough to have one of the men living in one of the homes to escort us to a cave. So Denis, and the 6 of us trudged on in a single file line behind a random man wielding a machete. I couldn't help but feel a little bit like Frodo, on some long journey through mythical woods with a posse trekking along beside me.

The cave was a small, rocky opening in the middle of waist high grass. It looked like a rocky mouth gasping for air among the weeds. The opening was only big enough to shimmy through so we wiggled our way into the cave equipped with headlamps. Once we squirmed through the entrance, the cave itself was huge! There were piles of ashes scattered all over the floor of the cave - evidence of it's past use as a hiding place for Kenyans seeking independence (says Denis). We would have loved to explore the cave further than simply the one large opening we descended into, but we were not prepared to do the hardcore caving it would have required.

We weren't able to spend as much time in the caves as I would have liked, but it definitely made the trip to Muchaka well worth getting leaked on.

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