Friday, August 10, 2012

In All Our Day was Unforgettable (and Delicious)

The morning began with a slow start.  Last night Kevin announced the construction work was canceled because the concrete needed to set and all of us were thankful to be able to sleep in the next morning… except for Eric Post. Post had gone to bed early and woke up confused as to why nobody was rushing to make breakfast - or even why nobody was awake at all.

After breakfast we started to brainstorm how we would like to spend the day.  The majority of the votes went towards a tour of Kakamega Forest Reserve, located close to Shiru.  The forest is the last tropical rainforest in Kenya and contains plants, animals and birds that cannot be seen anywhere else.  Arranging transportation of the combined Canadian/Kenyan team took time, but we were able to get on the road by 11:00 a.m.  We drove 10 km to Rondo Resort, which was built in 1922 by a British businessman and located at the entrance of the Kakamega Forest.  It took two round trips to carry everyone and by the time everyone arrived it was already lunchtime.  Rondo was a well-kept resort with manicured lawns, flowering trees and meticulously well-maintained gardens.  The buildings all appeared to be original and the dining room was formal (which was different than what we have seen in the local area).  It even had forks!  Lunch included a personal plate with three-grilled cheese/ham sandwiches along with a potato-based soup (cheese is one of the items rarely found at the market.).  Both items were amazing and left us feeling like we were in heaven.  The Kenyans, though, were taken aback by the taste and many left their meals unfinished.   Everyone’s jaw dropped when dessert appeared.  There were some squeals of joy when we saw it was ICE CREAM!   It was a mix of vanilla and strawberry ice cream with tea or coffee on the side. Some of our advisors were ecstatic to be given a freshly brewed cup of coffee.  Although Kenya is famous for its coffee, the most common coffee served is instant Nescafe coffee (which made it that much better!).

After our delicious lunch it was time for our exciting guided tour of the forest.  We separated into our two patrols with some Kenyan Rovers in each and met our guides Wycliffe and Winston.  Our tour of the forest took around 1½ hours and included a steep climb to a grass-covered summit. Along the way, we snapped photos of Colobus monkeys, unique trees and plants. It is an amazing rainforest filled with wonders, but the highlight of the tour was definitely the summit.  Those who successfully managed to reach the top had an amazing view of the Kakamega Forest. While at the top we took a number of group photos and even one with a Novak’s bag for a photo competition (in London).  We stayed for about half an hour before heading down. Canya patrol was taken to a marked bat cave, but nobody had a flashlight, so David and Brandon used their cameras as light sources, hoping to catch a glimpse of a bat.  Although Wycliffe said about 50 bats inhabited the cave, we only encountered two, one of which flew past Jenn’s head.

Once we were back at the resort we sat down on the lawn as a group to enjoy a cool bottle of pop and a few cookies.

The group in charge of cooking dinner was interested in cooking something new and wanted to experiment by mixing Kenyan cooking with Canadian cuisine.  The result: Kenyan Pizza.  With chapatti, tomato sauce, and other mouth-watering ingredients, many Canadian Scouts were left craving more western food.

All in all our day was unforgettable (and delicious).

By Ashley and Brandon

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