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Visiting a Kikuyu farmer

Wednesday 16th March

We had a quick "mini-breakfast" at 6am and got away for an early morning game drive. It was cloudy and drizzling intermittently, so the light was not good for photography.

The most memorable event came when we were watching watching oxpeckers in a sausage tree, near a herd of buffalo. Kassim and Duncan saw an African green pigeon fly into the tree and then spent a while trying to find it; it took them even longer to explain to me where it was.

Birds we saw in the Masai Mara included: African green pigeon, anteater chat, black-bellied bustard, black-headed heron, black crake, black kite, blacksmith plover, crested crane, Egyptian geese, helmeted guinea fowl, hooded vulture, kestrel, lilac-breasted roller, little beeeater, maribou stork, martial eagle, oxpecker, ring-necked doves, secretary bird, sooty chat, stout cisticola, tawny eagle, wattled plover, wattled starling, white-backed vulture, white-bellied bustard, white-browed cuckel, white-shouldered kite, white stork, yellow-billed stork, ...

We also saw some elephants and the same lions on the buffalo carcass we'd seen the previous day. There wasn't much left of what had been a fresh buffalo twenty four hours earlier!

We were packed and off by 10.30. We stopped once in the middle of nowhere for photos of the landscape, and a second time for our crew to pick up three bags of charcoal (for household cooking) from a roadside vendor.

Camilla and Kassim
dry and rocky landscape
lunch in Narok

Lunch was in the same place in Narok, where Kassim bought a newspaper, I think the Kenyan Standard. This had an update on the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which was what I was most interested in, but the headlines were all about the Ocampo Six.

Strangely, Wikipedia doesn't have an article on the Ocampo Six, but the article on ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo says:
"Moreno Ocampo announced the six prime suspects in the Kenya post-election violence of 2007 on December 15, 2010. He named suspended Minister of Higher Education William Ruto, Minister for Industrialisation Henry Kosgey, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former Commissioner of the Kenya Police Major General Mohammed Hussein Ali, Head of Public Services Francis Muthaura, and journalist Joshua Arap Sang as leading perpetrators of the incidents."
This was, as one can imagine, rather politicised in Kenya, with different groups either supporting or opposing a government-requested deferment of the ICC prosecution.

Camilla did some souvenir shopping (hawkers moderately pushy), while I watched birds from our lunch table.

local church, from the car window
Then it was a long drive on the main highway, with many more trucks than before, but with Duncan overtaking safely. We passed some camps of refugees from the 2007 violence (they had houses, not just tents). It was cool and intermittent rain continued.

The rain had got quite heavy when we arrived at the Kikuyu farm we were to visit, so went inside and chatted while drinking tea, talking to farmer George and a visiting friend. George had worked as a teacher for 30 years, but has also run his own farm, living up to the Kikuyu reputation for industriousness. He was very happy that the rains had come.

They were interested in Australia and the situation of the Aborigines. The best I could come up with here as an analogy was what the Maasai would be like if all their cattle were taken away from them and they were forced to settle in camps.

banana plants
We managed to fit in a brief tour of the farm, which I think was two acres. This was more a hobby farm than the "subsistence farm" of our itinerary, with small areas of many different plants — four types of bananas, avocadoes, maize, hay, kale, spinach, passionfruit, papaya, potatoes and more. Much of that was eaten by the family, but some of it was sold for cash.

Our hotel, the Lake Nakuru Flamingo Lodge, was not far away.

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