Those fantastic trips to Kenya! #ThrowbackThursday

Mum and Pops were born in Kenya but settled here in the UK in the early 70’s.  Quite a lot of our family had also moved out, but there was, and still is a sizeable amount still there, so we would spend 4-5 weeks every other summer out there, keeping our links with our family open.

They were were both born in a small farming village called Kibos, near Kisumu, and Lake Victoria.  The farming there was mainly sugar cane. Both families had farms so we would love to go and stay there.  This picture below shows my family with my mums grand mother, my great grandmother, God rest her soul, she was with us until she was 104 years old!

 

With my darling Great grandmother

With my darling Great grandmother

I always remember a giant Bamboo tree in the garden that we used to play around, and sit under, but I was always slightly scared, as we had been told there were snakes in it too!  I never actually saw one though!  And my grandfather loved gardening so he had a small fruit yard too, and we would wake to eat the most amazing fresh Papayas for breakfast, picked that morning!

We would spend a lot of time at my Pops family farm too, down the road, and that is a picture of me, my brother and my maternal cousins, on the back of a pick up truck. In those days, no one had any fear, we would all pile into the back and go cruising around!  They had dogs, and chickens, and I remember loving their dog Lassie, until she died while having puppies.  I thing subconsciously I stopped liking dogs then, not because I had a fear of them, but I developed a fear of attachment… and losing someone… There was so much space to run around, we would make mud pies if it rained, as the rain was warm, and fun!

Around the corner was another household full of kids, Baaji’s house. Baaji, was at 70ish, my oldest cousin! Yes cousin! He had kids and grandkids, and great grand kids, which meant I was given an elevated status, relationship wise from a very young age!  We would walk through the sugar cane fields to their house and spend the days playing, and drinking Coke and Fanta from glass bottles, and having such fun! The time would disappear, and it would be dark before we knew it, and the adults would have been despatched to round us up, ready to go to our homes!

Occasionally we would have weddings to go to, and they were such fun affairs there, all out in the open, riding from one farm to another in our pick up trucks, or piled on top of one another in the back of cars. The parties were outdoors, music blaring, food a plenty, being cooked on a chula outside, the men cracking open beers, or something stronger. Singing and dancing, oh such memories!

Opposite Pops farm was a set of hills. At the uppermost point was a huge stone coked Monkey Stone. It was a day trip to get up there, part drive, part climb. I was never old enough to go, when trips were arranged, and when I was old enough, no one wanted to go! Usually folk would pack a picnic and leave early in the morning, have a stop and eat lunch, then make their way up. It was called Monkey Stone because the route was full of baboons! Once you got to the top, it was customary to write your name on the stone, and take pictures, obviously! I was gutted I never got a chance! One day maybe…!

 

Our more of transport, at the back of a pick up truck!

Our mode of transport, at the back of a pick up truck!

My uncles, my mum’s brothers, lived in a town a couple of hours away, in a place called Eldoret.  My grandfather, after leaving his brothers in charge at the farm in Kibos, bought a huge wheat plantation in Eldoret, with a beautiful farm house slap bang in the middle of the farm. There, he created the most amazing gardens, rose gardens, and a huge allotment for home use. He grew all manner of fruit and vegetables there.  Nanaji (my Granddad)  loved dogs, and he had many, as pets, then the more vicious ones as guard dogs. This love of animals was carried forward by my uncles, who kept many dogs, and still do, even when Nanaji passed away. My Nanima, God rest her soul, loved gardens too, and after the loss of her husband, she would tend to the roses and flowers… She loved us and the gardens equally I think! I feel a funny story coming on…

One year when I was around 15, my cousin had a small 50cc motorbike for riding around the farm. She said she would teach me how to ride it, and I was like, yeah ok!  So I got on, started welt straight, for all of 5 seconds, veered right and ended up in the flower bed… Nanima rushed out to me, I thought, but no, she pulled me out and started fussing over the bush!  Still, she did ask if I was ok, about 15 minutes later! Love her to bits!

Oh, and I can’t forget the matching outfits! Mum had 2 nieces, one my age, and one my brother’s age. Without fail, each time we were due to go, she’d buy clothes for us girls, matching outfits, and we loved looking like matching (but not, if you know what I mean!) triplets… Until we hit the teen years, then it was like “Mum! Stop with the bulk buying now!!!” Obviously my brother got away with being individual… I’m not sure though, he would have suited some if these outfits! 😜

At Lake Baringo with our patching outfits.. oh and my brother!

At Lake Baringo with our matching outfits.. oh and my brother!

We would take trips to Lake Baringo, a lake with hippos and crocodiles in it. There as an island in the middle where there was a permanent campsite set up, we stayed there several times in tents, amazed and equally horrified by the size of the centipedes and milipedes that we would find!

They had a swimming pool at the top of the island where we would go and chill.  And you could go on a boat ride around the island, and visit the hot springs that were there at the other side. If you felt too sophisticated to camp, there was the Lake Baringo Club you could stay at instead, situated on the banks of the lake, with chalet style rooms, and you could go on day trips to the island, or just relax there at the Club, indulging in good food, drink and a great swimming pool!

One time we stayed there, and I was in a room with my cousin of the same age. We felt very grown up, no adults in our room with us, and we left the dining room ahead of everyone else, so we could go chill, and generally plan mischief without anyone. Unbeknownst to us, our chalet was the only one with a yellow bulb in the light outside, all the others were white. This attracted many critters that we didn’t want near us, and when we got to our room, there were 2 snakes, a couple of rather large lizards, and many flying things, BIG things around our front door! We hared back to the dining room, and grabbed an adult to help us remove these creatures, and to help us get in our room. So this was done, and my uncle let us in locked the door, and left, saying they’d all be back on half an hour.  Well, he wasn’t to know, but he let in a HUGE dragonfly, which buzzed at us. He wanted to get out, but we couldn’t do anything, all the windows had mesh on them, and the door was locked! We sat under a mosquito net, on our beds, holding each other, crying and shouting out for anyone to hear, like big sissies! The rest of the family arrived to find us screaming, hoarsely in our rooms, gibbering messes… We didn’t feel too grown up after that!!

A little older on a boat at Lake Turkana, the largest freshwater lake in East Africa, I think!

A little older on a boat at Lake Turkana, the largest freshwater lake in East Africa, I think!

On one of my last trips there, I was around 16 and we went way up North to Lake Turkana. This is the largest freshwater lake in Kenya, and set in desert like surroundings. It was an experience… And aside from the house we stayed in, there were very few modern amenities… Not fun if you had a dodgy tummy and weren’t home… Get what I mean! That’s me and my cousins enjoying a boat trip on the lake, feeling rather cool! I think we might have been trying to sign 2 Legit 2 Quit!!

My last trip was the December of 1997, a long time ago… My cousin was getting married. It was a bitter sweet trip. 2 weeks of celebrations and sadness at an era nearing its end.

I didn’t know then that I wouldn’t be going back any time soon, that this would be the last time I saw my grandma, my only surviving grandparent… That Pops family farm would get sold, that slowly the same would happen to mums family farm, that things would change so much…

I loved my summers there so much, I wish dearly to be able to take Hubby Dearest and the sprogs there one day. It won’t be the same, but I hope I can one day…..

71 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Somali K Chakrabarti
    Jul 28, 2017 @ 11:55:09

    Loved reading the post, Ritu. The cross cultural influences interest me a lot. also loved the way you have covered up the faces. That’s something I’ll pick up from you, 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Marje @ Kyrosmagica
    Jul 28, 2017 @ 08:25:16

    This is such a lovely post about memories. Maybe I should do one! Your great gran was some lady living to 104! My great grandfather lived into his 90’s and was walking miles and chasing the ladies until he dropped! My dad seems to have a particular fondness for him!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. hotmessmemoir
    Jul 28, 2017 @ 00:49:41

    Do you guys have Awkward Family Photos over there? Because that pic of matching outfits is hilarious! And a 70 yr old cousin? Damn!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. willowdot21
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 23:03:09

    Beautiful photos Beautiful memories💜

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Erika Kind
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 20:11:32

    That’s such special memories, Sis and I can imagine how little you felt from one moment to another. A whole different world. I hope you can make it happen you go there again and introduce your family’s home country to your own family… even though it is not the same. At least you have such amazing memories….

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. Mr. Militant Negro
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 19:58:23

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

    Like

    Reply

  7. watchingthedaisies
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 19:16:01

    Such a lovely post Ritu. I do hope you can go back again. I visited Kenya in 1996 and absolutely loved it. I was in Naorobi, Treetops, Lake Bogoria, the Masai Mara and Lake Naivasha. Looking out on the landscape I was afraid I would miss something. It was all so exciting. Would love to read more from you on Kenya. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  8. OIKOS™-Redaktion
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 17:57:24

    Reply

  9. syl65
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 14:19:18

    Wonderful memories Sister!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  10. shaunkellett
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 13:48:39

    Wow, Ritu. What a story. I love hearing about peoples backgrounds, everyone has a unique story to tell. I truly appreciate that bittersweet ending, it’s a lesson for us all to make the most of what we have whilst we’ve got it. We really never know when something will be the “last”, so we should cherish every time we get.

    I hope you get your break away there again, even if it isn’t the same, it could be something brand new for your family 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  11. Gloria
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 13:31:22

    Wow Ritu! This is an amazing account of your childhood. What memories you have. All sounds fabulous! I’m a bit jealous 😁! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  12. SickChristine
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 12:57:01

    I just love this. So heartwarming.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  13. weggieboy
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 11:00:57

    Riding in the back of a pickup is so…umm…American, yet it is a delight to learn that children in other cultures and countries get to have that thrill, too, that it is less an American thing than I realized.

    Some of my favorite childhood memories are riding in the back of pickups, too, and now it is regarded as child endangerment here. Of course it is! Why else would children love doing it so much! LOL!

    A most enjoyable post today, Ritu!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  14. ellenbest24
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 08:55:05

    You will do it, you will put your determined head on and take them all to look at the memories through your eyes and make them their own.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  15. Osyth
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 08:52:31

    What a lovely meander … the people, the landscape, the events all conspire to make a sweet and soulful post. If you doubt know her, may I suggest you find Susie Kelly (she is on FaceBook and has a blog http://www.nodamnblog.wordpress.com) She grew up in Kenya and has written more than one book about it in addition to get hilarious travel books from France. I think you would like her …. 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  16. blondieaka
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 08:44:22

    It’s the back of a pickup truck here too..You would be …No, you probably wouldn’t at what you can get in the back of a pickup ….Nice post I love reading about the past it somehow shapes a person and it is lovely to have such memories 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  17. IreneDesign2011
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 08:16:26

    Wonderful stories Ritu, sad that the political situation are as unsecure.
    It might create other great memories for your kids to visit, when and if possible 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  18. emfletche
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 07:37:30

    Love these memories Ritu, so much to cherish!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  19. Fourth Generation Farmgirl
    Apr 10, 2015 @ 20:27:47

    Such wonderful memories!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  20. patchworkrainbows
    Apr 10, 2015 @ 19:16:56

    Such lovely stories. More to come I hope? X

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Apr 10, 2015 @ 19:48:08

      These were my scheduled posts to cover while I was away… But I ended up on here just as much anyway!!! I’ll try and fish some more out! Uni memories maybe…?!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  21. The V-Pub
    Apr 10, 2015 @ 19:07:29

    I’d love to visit Kenya and the Rift Valley one day. The great lakes of Africa must be something to behold!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

My interactive peeps!

Peeps are reading in…

Flag Counter
Orienthailiving.

Phad Thai to Apple Pie

Love, Laughter & Truth

Stumbling through Divorce, Dating, Depression & Life - but don't let that put you off!

Judy E Martin

Author, Poet and lover of life

Always A Writer

Fiction/Non-fiction, Poems and Stories

The Reluctant Poet

A Discovery of Enlightening Insights, Information, Humor, Writings and Musings

tea & paper

mindfulness and simplicity

Erika Kind

Be the change you wish to see in the world - Mahatma Gandhi

A Ruky'z Life!

Because It Is Never Too Late to Start LIVING!

S C Richmond

Author - Crime & Mystery

%d bloggers like this: