The beauty of having a Rotaract twin is that more often than not, you share similar values and tend to tag along on all fun adventures. The Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central (RCNC) and her twin, Rotaract Club of Kampala Ssese Islands (RCKS) don’t fall too far off that mark. Indulge me, as I take you on a trip down the fun lane and on the innings of how the Sailors On The Savanna 2017 edition went down on the 11th-12th February.
As you should know by now, Rotaract is all about fun, friendship and yes, projects that give back to the community. We start this adventure way back in October 2016 when two bus-loads of RCNC members, guests and friends to the club joined RCKS on their project in Ssese, Uganda. If you did not make it to that adventure, you sure did miss out. Kenyans, be Kenyans, we had to ‘revenge’ that Ugandan hospitality, Kenyan style.
Being the sticklers of time that we attempt to be, as soon as the Ugandan coaster pulled over in Nairobi, we allowed the cool beans crew to freshen up ahead of dinner and what turned out to be an epic partying night, needless say hours before the 5th Annual RCNC Interact Careers Day at USIU-Africa the morning after. That all the revelers were part of the organizing party to that event stopped no one from shaking a limb or two. Youth comes with its perks, enjoy it while you can! We did have a successful interact careers day despite the common denominator known as a hang-down, thank the Lord for safe drinking water available throughout the day.
At exactly 4:00PM, all roads headed for Napoleon’s Camp in Sagana, Thika where the ‘Sailing’ was to take part. Being my first camp-out with and my designated tent-mate bailing out on me thanks to their boss recalling them to work, I had trouble picking a tent mate amongst the new un-paired faces. But then again, who said we were going to sleep? Our beds were left home for very valid reasons. As long as our luggage was safe, that’s all that mattered. I think the RCNC International Service director and her team have an unmatched sense of humor. That they picked a camping site right next to famed River Tana, the home of crocodiles and hippos…for us to camp out at night, Lord see them for us, but all is well, a tinker for danger is all we needed.
When you are a new-be to something, good behavior wears you like a fine jewel. You should have seen how this butterfly of the party was all timid and proper over dinner while everyone else was letting lose around the bonfire, bonding so seamlessly like the long lost friends reunited they were. Then the DJ decided to be creative with his skills and curtail our fun by cutting short all the fun danceable tunes, oh you should have seen the disgruntled looks on people’s faces, hahaa priceless. Necessity was not the father of invention, dealing the hand we had been served seemed to work perfectly as the night took shape quite well. By now, my Maasai shuka that was hugging me, shielding this daughter of her mother from the River Tana night breeze was long disposed and my leg-shaking skills on display on the dance floor.
If you have never had coffee and mangoes as a snack after dancing yourself thirsty and hungry at 3:00AM, clearly you need to join this group. One can lie to others, but never to themselves. I made an attempt to test the validity of the latter by purporting to nap at about 4:00AM. Karma is a fine woman, my tent was right next to the life-size outdoors speakers, so there was no way the pins of the universe were aligning themselves this time, for me to have the much needed sleep. So I lay there on what felt like rocks on grass, the 1inch thick mattress was cheating no bone in this petite frame of mine, and listened to the now mellow reggae mix, how soul-soothing, ey?
Showering is as easy as a dash in, a 5 minutes jig under the warm water and out you pop, whistle clean, right? Wrong! Not in the wild it isn’t! For some reason, deliberate or not, I will leave that to the camp management, the ladies’ side of the rest rooms was dysfunctional. It was fun sharing with the gentlemen, my Sunday make-up was done by a gentleman Rotaractor from Uganda. Talk of feeling like a magnificent work of art all day long!
I will skip the breakfast story, but maybe pass by the fruit booth just because and jump right into the fun activities of the day. Dear facilitators, there’s a reason we paid you the Ksh.4,000.00 per head. Keeping a bunch of over 70 young adults, high on what I prefer to call natural and bought adrenaline is no joke, but our Lord is merciful and kind. Fun stuff for the day, right after we had a mini-fellowship and cake…yes, we had more cake, and exchange of club flags between rotaract clubs of Nairobi Central, Kampala Ssese, Ssese Central, Kenyatta University, Jomo Kenyatta University, Muthaiga, Westlands, Malindi and the Rotary Club of Muthaiga(we have that many friends), we all picked what tickled our fancy.
There was white water rafting, I gather the water levels were down to where the pebbles grow, hence the experience was as good as a simulation, but totally worth striking off your bucket list. Others took to bike riding, a more daring bunch decided to indulge in what I later learnt is known as ‘duff mpararo’ in our local language, which you may know as swimming in the river. I am a swimmer, but when you see on Nat Geo what crocodiles and creatures of the river do to breakfast that brings itself home, you will agree with me to pick dry land activities. For the less adventurous ones, walking round the camp’s perimeter seemed to hit the sweet spot, but I tend to think it was a smoke screen for further bonding and catch-up between friends.
Joy comes in the morning, so the song goes. Ours was a day late, it was to come the night before but then again, patience is key. The grandfather to the owner of the camp has a tradition of gifting the campers with 20 liters of a kikuyu traditional brew known as Muratina. Our ancestors in Kikuyu land gifted this beverage to their guests as a way of welcoming them to their homes and the same was shared amongst men during special occasions after the ladies tasted (not partook of) for its readiness in the kitchen.
When the first 10liters was brought to our tent for ‘registration of arrival’ by my tent mate and the assistant I.S director, no way I was going to confuse my system walking around in the sun or playing badminton. To the gazebo that doubled up as our bar, the cool beans went and I had a taste of my first beer, the traditional Kikuyu beer. It tasted a bit off, my taste buds can attest to that, but in no time, the 20 liters were over faster than we wished. Lots of dancing and cheering had as well graced the otherwise serene gazebo that was adorned by painted furnishings.
I’m not exactly sure what drove the swimmers to swim in their day clothes instead of the advised swim kits, but I gather they decided to dare dive, hence their grey-ish hair and almost white skin tones as they shivered their way to dryness on the queue for lunch. A sight to behold, they were! Laid back and easy the lunch session went with our travel companion, a bag of mangoes, slowly getting gobbled down, one succulent bite after another. I’m yet to meet a reveler that’s shy of an afternoon siesta after hours of fun. Under your favorite tree, lying on a mattress that once belonged inside the tent was where you would find your friend and join them in a power nap.
Fun times do not last so long, time flies when you are having fun, someone please call Father Time and request him to revise this notion. Our twins had to leave for the land of Museveni and our homes were beckoning at us as well. On our long, tedious, unwanted bus ride back home, I pitied our bosses that had to endure our existence in their department the following day. How long and laborious the week would be, but it was totally worth it!
Much appreciation to the RCNC International Service Director, Rtr. Samantha Miriti, her assistant Rtr. Nicodemus Chege, our camp facilitators, Rhodes Tours company, our twins, the Rotaract Club of Kampala Ssese Islands and our Rotarian and rotaract friends that joined us on the 2017 Sailors on the Savanna Experience. The 2016/2017 rotary year has been good to us, let us do this one more time in October 2017 when Uganda happens again!
Authored by Rtr.Olivia Ngugi, RCNC Professional Development and Leadership Director, 2016/2017.