Last Thursday, I made an overnight trip to Kisumu in western Kenya on the shore of Lake Victoria with Patrick, a Bridgeworld College staff member. We went to pick up the certificates and transcripts of recent Bridgeworld College graduates, whose degrees had been conferred by Great Lakes University in Kisumu as part of a partnership agreement with Bridgeworld College.
We traveled on Thursday afternoon via matatu, a common form of public transportation in Kenya. While some matatus are larger buses, most are small vans designed to seat 12 adults. Since our first matatu was a direct trip to Nakuru, the conductor only sold tickets to 11 passengers. That was not true on our second matatu from Nakuru to Kericho, where we stayed overnight. At times there were four people squeezed in each row. I think the record, though, was set by the matatu we took on Friday morning from Kericho to Kisumu, which had 21 people on board at one point.
Kenya has incredible natural beauty. There were breathtaking views of the Great Rift Valley on the ride from Nairobi to Nakuru. The sunset over Lake Elementeita was stunning. It was dark when we arrived in Kericho, but in the morning and on the return trip to Nairobi Friday afternoon, I saw the large tea plantations and employee estates that surround the city. (Click on either picture to enlarge image.)
Friday morning, after a delicious breakfast of chai – I was told that one simply has to try to local tea in Kericho – and mandazi (a Kenyan doughnut), we headed west from Kericho and descended out of the Great Rift Valley. As we did, the climate and geography became more like one would expect to find in a tropical region. There were countless sugar plantations.
When we arrived in Kericho, we took a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) to the shore of Lake Victoria, where we took a short boat ride and saw some hippos up close and personal.
(Click on any picture below to open slideshow)
Afterwards, we traveled via matatu and boda boda to Great Lakes University. Unfortunately, the academic dean who needed to sign the transcripts had had car trouble that morning and was late in arriving at the school. (Click on images to enlarge.)
When it became apparent that the documents would not be ready until late afternoon and knowing that I needed to be in Nairobi on Saturday, Patrick suggested that I head back to Nairobi on my own. Before finding a direct matatu to Nairobi on Friday afternoon, Patrick and I had lunch together – ugali (a Kenyan staple) and fresh tilapia from Lake Victoria. One of my students, Stephen, is from Kisumu. When he heard that I would be traveling there, he told me to try the fish. He assured me that I would not be disappointed, and I wasn’t!
I was grateful to arrive safely in Nairobi late Friday night, and to find a taxi to take me from the matatu stop in the central business district back to our home.