A family trip to Mombasa… and Church on Sunday

This past week the kids have been on half-term, so we started the week by taking a long weekend to go to Mombasa.  At some ungodly hour of Saturday morning we all piled into the car, and headed off on the loooong journey to Mombasa.  I was somewhat wary of a 7-8 hour car journey with 4 kids under 5, but I have to hand it to them, they were very good.Kenya through the car window was simply awesome.  I fell even more in love with this country, driving from Nairobi to Mombasa.  It is just so beautiful.  We passed by Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s snow-cap sparkling in the distance, we passed by Tsavo national park, making me feel like a key actor in the Lion King… it’s just such a fantastic country.

We made it to our cottage on Diani beach, which was luxurious.  An open air sitting room, surrounded by white curtains, and beds with decorative mosquito nets (I say decorative, because there were plenty of mosquitos inside the nets).

We spent each morning in the cottage pool, which was amazingly warm even when it rained.  The climate in Mombasa is so different – really really humid, and warm.  But mostly humid 🙂

This trip was mission get all the kids swimming, as usually they kick up a stink when we try to get them to swim in Nairobi.  And it worked, they all loved the pool…and started begging to go swimming at around 7.30 each morning.

Afternoons we went to Diani beach (across the road)… it was like something out of a film.  It is such an idyllic and beautiful coast line.  And that’s just the visuals.  But there were also huuuge warm waves, perfect for playing in.  So I spent my afternoons holding hands with Lisette and Sammy, jumping waves… and listening to their cute little screams of fear and delight as the big waves crashed over them.  We also did plenty of sand castle building, and shell collecting 🙂

On the way back, we took a detour through the Shimba Hills national park (an elephant sanctuary).  We stopped there to see the elephants in the wild, as the park supposedly has the highest concentration of elephants in the whole of Africa.  First things first, we were given an informative lecture about how the sanctuary supports the local community… they have invented elephant dung paper!  A man gave us a demonstration of how the dung is mixed and drained and compressed into sheets of paper.  It is then used to make souvenir objects for tourists.  All funds go to the local community and the upkeep of the sanctuary.

We drove off around the park in search of elephants, and saw 2 families in the distance – but sadly, we learnt elephants are not too keen on being viewed up close.

We stopped to eat our picnic at a camp in the middle of the reserve which is an amazing place:  a safari tent camp, bang in the middle of the reserve, where apparently the elephants come in the morning to use the water hole.  Definitely have to go back there while I’m out here- although it is very remote to get to.

Very long journey home, which included the motorway suddenly ending in our direction.  Literally.  All of a sudden there was just no road left.  So all the lorries and cars had to cross over onto the incoming lanes of traffic!  Our lane had to drive up the hard shoulder of the oncoming direction.  That’s Africa.  Eventually we even had to go off-road, and onto the new road- they just haven’t bothered to connect the 2 bits of road yet.
Have to love Africa 🙂

Can I tack on another topic to the end of this post??  I suppose I can.

Yesterday (Sunday), my friend Tom (see Naivasha) and I decided to go along to an African church mass, just for the experience.  I have to say I wasn’t disappointed.  The place was packed out, so much so, that much of the congregation was sitting/stood outside.  A tent had been erected with plastic chairs for the extra people… giving the whole occasion the feeling of a cheery barbeque, or a fete on the village green.  The priest did his preaching, but much to our amusement got quite hysterical at certain points and would start screaming in Kiswahili.  To be followed up with a “CAN I GET AN AAAA-MEN?”.

The topic of his sermon was rather strange as well.  To all those children who have been orphaned and are suffering:  God will hear you.  Fair enough.  To all those women, who are not legally married, but have done their best to raise their child, and are abused by their no-hope husbands:  God will hear you.  Fair play.  But then:  “LET US NOT FORGET, HOWEVER, that it is not only women who are abused by their husbands.  But there are sooo many men, who are mistreated by their terrible wives.  Can you imagine, dear sisters and brothers, some men come home, and remain HUNGRY because their wives DO NOT COOK FOR THEM.  IT IS TRUE, YES, IT IS TRUE.  Let us pray for these poor poor men as well…let us not forget them…  (divergence into Kiswahili that we no longer understood).”  Very bizarre.

Also, the church is hoping to expand its building, and so is hosting a fund-raiser next weekend.  For which the priest assured the congregation: we will be reading out the name of each family, and how much they have contributed.  Lady X cannot make it, but has already contributed her cheque of 100,000 Ksh… and I promised her, that I would identify her at the mass.   Public exposure of private donations… a little shocking to me.

All in all, a very interesting experience!

 

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