July 2, 1987

7/2/87 Mt Kenya

campsite along Southern Naru Moru River

What a great day! At 1pm, Dave yelled "Homeboy!" The other group were all sitting at the intersection of the Naru Moru Park Road and the Link Road. Harvard, Marshal, Annie, Jack and Amy were a little dirty but overjoyed to see us. The had been lost in the bamboo for two solid days. We exchanged stories, although ours weren’t as good as the hardship you see on their faces.

What a great day!
We found Harvard, Marshal, Annie, Jack & Amy
a little dirty but overjoyed to see us.
They had been lost in the bamboo forest for two solid days.

In the morning, we slept in and then fixed up a wonderful batch of pancakes. We finally broke camp about 9am. We passed many farmers today. They were very happy when we greeted them in kiswahili. And their children laughed. It was about then that we saw the other group.

We all took off for the Southern Naru Moru River. After we made camp, Harvard and his group took to the river to wash up while the rest of us got food and drinks prepared. After an afternoon rain shower, we went up to the road to greet a family at the river for water. Most of his children had never seen a white person. Mbugua gave the children pieces of candy and they shook our hands goodbye. The father came back later with a big bag of potatoes. We gave him hot soup and some sugar and rice as thanks. We proceeded to fry up potatoes.

Mbugua told us that the people around the forest farmed their plots of land for about three years and then planted trees. They were then moved or "shifted" to other plots. Most planted potatoes, maize and peas. A farmer could make a lot of money by selling a lorry of potatoes. I feel like an intruder here. Today I kept telling Mbugua all the great things we could send him from America. I was doing just the thing I swore I’d never do. I must start learning to see what’s around me and learn more about Kenya and it’s people instead of thinking how America can ‘fix’ things here.

The great shocker tonight was when the last group strolled into our camp. The whole class together a day early. We cranked up a bunch more stoves and just kept the food coming. The third group had stories about like Harvard’s group - impenetrable bamboo and rain, mud and dung. Dave and I felt out of sorts. Almost like we missed something the others had found, a test of our own personal strength of will power. But we were glad we didn’t get ‘tested.’ We were lucky.

I go to sleep tonight with all my friends together, a little ragged but all well and happy. And, just hopefully, a little seed of self awareness, a beginning of human understanding has started to grow inside of me.