Early morning, we are waking up and starting to bustle around. Some are preparing breakfast, others taking shower or organizing belongings. As normally we are trying to get everything done faster, to get earlier to the other end with almost a snail’s speed. Then morning jobs are finished, we pack the car and leave for the trip.
The trip is long, especially with such a speed. Road conditions do not become better. I do not know how to describe the road – rather a bumpy one with pieces of asphalt. Shaking continues and Karioki is trying to find a less shaky part, especially avoiding the big washboard parts and potholes which there is no shortage. We go out of the hilly terrain, and later will enter a plain, which has mountains on both sides. We go near the side of the left side hill and see several waterfalls in the mountains, at least for us they looked like ones. Around there are many rather green trees.
We stopped at a bridge and got out to stretch and take photos of the river. Behind the bridge there was a village with a traditional shop / store/ market view. Children came and we gave them some notebooks and colored pencil sets, and they were happy for that.
We continue along the road, and as commonly, there have been speed humps built in the villages. There is a variety of formations and materials for them based on asphalt or soil. Holes are not enough to deter the racers Here and there a long asphalt strip in the middle of the road can be seen, which is about a meter wide and can be used for one side of the car, but then we must face a tilt. Trucks drive so that the asphalt is between the wheels. Looks like the road itself has been made much wider than the original. Potholes unfortunately don’t get reduced and the speed also does not rise.
Around there are scrubs with yellowish lawns which are greener closer to the roots. We are moving away from the mountains, closer to the middle of the plain. Along the way animals and birds can be observed, mostly small animals or livestock. Of large animals, a camel can be occasionally seen. In the car it is sometimes quiet (or hard for me to hear in a rattling car), and sometimes conversations as the trip is long.
At one moment Karioki decided to increase the speed, because we often complained that we are maundering slowly and others are traveling much faster than us. It did not last long as when the speed was increased, the car rattled even more and the front panel was shaking so much that everything fell out of it. At one moment I thought that soon the whole panel will be in my lap since I sat in the front.
We came to a part which reminds of rather a desert with thinning trees. The road goes through it, and on both sides of the road there are other paths created, as they are much smoother than the main one! Also, the speed could be increased slightly. Road has been rutted narrower or wider, sometimes it splits into a number of bands bypassing obstacles or passing other cars depending on what is more convenient. It does not matter to which side of the main road one descends, one should follow the same principles as on the main road.
At one point we stopped for a lunch break to eat instant noodle soup and to stretch. We go further and at one moment we arrive in the village with a barrier, which is not uncommon, but this time it does not get risen and we are not let further. Karioki greets and talks with a police officer who came up in the local language. Then we were told that a bandit attack zone starts here and that it is dangerous without a policeman in the car. Knowing that this is unlikely going to be for free and asked how much we need to pay, and those were 2000 KES. Splitting among all of us, it actually is not that much, and we should take him. He must sit next to me in the front as two can squeeze and sit there. I gave my bag to the rear, as there’s not that much room, then he sat down beside me with a gun, the AK-47, if I remember correctly. He put a gun between his legs and we went further.
The stretch of the road is so horrible that the bandits can reach the car with such a speed. There are only bushes around where they are said to be hiding. They are supposedly coming from the neighbouring country. Ilgoni’s question arrives from the back on how many bullets does he have after all. I looked at him and noticed only one magazine. He himself is thin ad the most of the local people. He didn’t speak English, so with the help of Karioki we found ot that he has 30 bullets. Should be enough. The dangerous area stretches 88km ahead. We started a discussion whether he is a member of police or army – turns out that he’s a policeman. Also we were trying to find out whether the army here is mandatory or not, and it sounded like it is voluntary. Karioki himself had not served.
We go a while and stop, and the policeman also gets out and moves on
of the car in order to better see us and the surrounding area. Soon we continued our way.
Neighborhoods are still bushy and the road is probably one of the worst
roads. Along the following roads riding at high speed is not sensible, unless you are very sure of your car’s reliability, including tires.
We are driving for a long time. Rather tedious road, one can just rattle along. We
stopped at the control which was the end of the danger zone. We paid and I again could sit in front in the sun and heat.
Lodwar was not far anymore and we soon arrived. We start to look for our
accommodation. We were inquiring locals and navigating, but it did not work well. We criss-crossed the area and only later finally found the place.
As it turns out, we were close, but not that close.
We parked the car and Agnese went to talk about places to sleep and Ilgonis also joined. A campsite was planned, but when they found out that there are free houses with three beds in each, Ilgonis convinced that it’s better to stay in the rooms as we’re staying 2 nights and leaving bags. So we do. We found out about the biggest shops to buy some groceries. The driver also needs to check the car.
Some of us stayed and the rest came along. It was agreed that the driver throws us out at the shop and drives to the workshop, and if he manages to check everything then he picks us up, otherwise we are walking. We got to the shop, but one couldn’t tell from the outside that it was a supermarket. From inside it looked like a wild west store, all dusty and organized as someone had managed to. Not all we need is available. Therefore we have to do with what we can buy. There was frozen mince meat, but the ice cream was not worth it since it had been melted and incompletely frozen again. At least e had such an impression.
We found out that the driver won’t get out of the workshop soon enough, so we walked. The people are kind, greet us. We were walking on the street’s empty side and people walked on the other side. Only later we understood that we need to go on that side as well as the one we were walking along is used by cars. So we had people around and some of them started a conversation with us. We chatted and walked. The children, however, mostly have one saying “How are you?”. We reply that we are good and how are they themselves, but they are usually not answering that.
Agnese talked to one student and the conversation topics were diverse. So we got to our lodge together with him and invited for dinner. While they were chatting, others were preparing dinner. There is the frozen mince meat for the dinner tonight, we thaw it on a frying pan and clean the unfrozen part off. Pasta goes with it. When everything is ready, it is time for dinner and everyone is coming at the table under a roof. Vitolds came, didn’t bend enough, hit his head at the edge and moaned. We come around, start to flash the light how does it look. It is bleeding, all the forehead in blood. He goes to the sink, I run to fetch my first aid bag. I start to nurse him as well as I can and as a result there is only one small wound for which a plaster was enough.
In a moment all gathered at the table and we started to eat dinner and there was even a toast. We discussed several topics with the student. The conversation lasted long. Then gradually everyone started to scatter and go to sleep or do something else before going to bed. At last we all went to sleep so we could wake up for the main event of the trip – the solar eclipse!
*Agnese’s note- we had the policeman in car between the towns Kainuk and Lokichar.