Hello Luna, my good old friend?! I can hear her calling to the hapless moths that she will promptly turn to dinner. Such a comforting sound.
I had kept away from the farm for a while. I needed to think and figure out how this story was going to progress. In the process, I was turning fifty and needed to have a “Team Building and Strategy Conference” between Me, Myself and I. For this very critical conference, I chose to spend four nights in the Maasai Mara, in the company of my two other participants – Me and Myself! The venue of choice was a beautiful setting in the Olare Motorogi conservancy – The Olare Mara Kempinski. If you have never been to the Maasai Mara, especially during the world-famous animal migration, then you owe this to yourself. Go!
I have friends who were concerned about my choice of celebration venue and company. Personally, I thought I was going to be in excellent company. I was not wrong. The Kempinski in the Mara is beautiful. Serene, quiet, steeped in nature, and frankly speaking, a little scary. You get escorted around the camp between the hours of 6pm and 6am by armed Maasai gentlemen. The camp is not fenced, hence the need for the escorts. Who knows – you might meet a ravenous lion or a disrespectful baboon!
Any who, I turned 50 in the bush. Strangers sang Happy Birthday to me and the hotel baked me a cake slice. I got adopted by two wonderful British couples who made me part of their game drive posse and we had the most amazing 3 days together. That’s 6 game drives! Enough time to get to know people really well. Also, enough time to get to know the Cheetah Mama and her cubs, the Lion Pride, the Elephant herds and the myriad Zebra, Gazelle, Antelope, Wildebeest, Giraffe and Hyena. By the end of my four-night stay, I spent some time reflecting on what I had learnt about myself, and also what the four day “Conference” had yielded by way of results.
For one, I realized that I truly love and enjoy my company. This is an extremely dangerous trait for an introvert. There is a risk that one may turn into a blissfully happy hermit! Secondly, I realized that solo travel is one of the best ways to meet new people. The two British couples that I met would probably never have reached out if it hadn’t been for the fact that I was seated by myself, with a plump glass of red next to me, ready for a sumptuous dinner. Solo female travelers invite curiosity, and I don’t know of a better way to meet people. Third lesson – if you really want to get pampered by hotel staff, travel alone especially as a female. The staff at the Kempinski took care of everything. Royal treatment all round. At some point, the chef came to take my special meal requests because he felt I needed special attention. I loved it. So, cheers to many more solo holidays!
Back to Luna! I’m at the farm trying to make head or tail of this place. Again! My borehole dried up, then started producing water again. My farm manager is sure this is pure sorcery! I think its just pure science. Someone tampered with the borehole water sensor settings, and once those were adjusted, voila! Water! We did however lose quite a number of chili plants, though I have also realized that chili is pretty resilient and can go long periods without water. The chickens are doing ok, so are the goats and cows. However, we are in the grips of a drought, and no matter how much borehole water one can pump, nothing can substitute rain!
As I sit here listening to Luna trying to catch moths, I wonder how she has survived this drought! What does she eat given that there are no moths in this dry weather? Does she adjust her diet? To what pray tell?
We walk into the general elections to be held on 9th August, and here’s another curve ball. My workers would like to travel to their home regions to vote. This made me wonder. Is this purely a Kenyan problem or do other countries treat voting the same way? Does an American need to travel from California to New York to vote because they registered as a voter in New York and now live in California? Do we complicate voting in Kenya?
Finally, when is it ever going to rain? We have had three failed rain seasons, which means we are in the grips of a drought and, sadly, a famine! If I had cloud seeding technology, I would use it and get this country a few drops of rain. They are needed.
As always, I wonder why I keep going. Why do I keep chipping away at this dream that others would have given up on ages ago. As always, I turn to the source of a lot of my encouragement, the poet Rumi. I leave you with this from him;
“The soul which cannot endure fire and smoke won’t find the secret”
Here I am, enduring my fire and smoke in search of the secret!