July 3, 1987

7/3/87 Naru Moru

back at NOLS near Naru Moru

We slept a little late but by 10am we were all excited to hike the final four kilometers to the house. It wasn’t too long before we passed a school and all the students came out to see us. By the time we reached the NOLS gate, we probably had a hundred teenagers walking with us. The were trying out their english and we were doing a terrible job speaking kiswahili. A few of the girls exchanged addresses. Just before lunch, we all walked into the NOLS compound together, with Maria there to open the gate and greet us. I was so happy to see her and be back at the house.

After much needed showers, we had quiche for lunch. Most of the afternoon we read letters from home, turned in gear and washed clothes. Cleaning the clothes seemed to take forever and the rinse water still came out brown. Dinner was sliced beef and gravy. After three weeks of powdered, instant everything, the meat was very welcome. After dinner, it was all beer and dancing. I started out to cut a mean rug dancing but after a while I felt isolated. Not by any of the group, but my friends back home. My peers back in Kansas City just don’t do the things that I do. It makes you feel very alone.

Dear Family,

Well, I'm sitting in the dinning area. Foods on in fifteen minutes. My clothes from the mountain are all washed. So now I'm writing letters and drinking "Tusker". We have a three beer limit so I bought all three.

We walked with 60-70 pound packs an average of 8 kilometers a day also with an elevation gain of 1500'. We climbed Point Lanana, the 3rd highest point on Mount Kenya. Tell grandma I learned to play pinnacle and had the highest game in all of Africa.

One of my best friends is Peter "Mbugua". He was one of my first tent mates. He's Kikuyu and is always telling me about his culture. Sorry Dad, Boy Scouts never hiked this far, this high or with packs so heavy. We carried all gear, stoves, kerosene and food for eight days.

We did a lot of rock climbing, classes in first aid, kiswahili, geology, natural history and map reading. I was group leader one day and we sort of got lost.

Cooking was very creative. We had pizza, cake and I baked a great coffee cake. We all lost a lot of weight. We have a big 4th of July party tomorrow, complete with hamburgers and fireworks.

A bit more about my fellow students. They're all young and in college. I'm even older than my three instructors. I've made some real good friends, Dave from Atlanta, Harvard and Marshal from Virginia, Bo from Pennsylvania, Becky from Hanover, Annie from Delaware, and Mbugua from Naro Moru.

Yesterday I was greeting a lot of farmers in the fields. Their smiles told me how well they appreciated my speaking kiswahili.

I hope everything is going great. Send a telegram when Mike and Barb's baby comes. Be happy.

Love, Jim WRITE