Kakamega is located more than one hour from Kisumu on a bumpy road through lush green tea plantations. Numerous settlements are beside the road and people garden and tend to their crops throughout the valleys. Kakamega is the birth place of the Boda-boda, or bicycle taxis. Boda-bodas are one speed bicycles with a fringed padded seat on the rear rack for the passenger, long hub-bolts for your feet, and a hand grip under the driver’s seat. Many people are incredibly poor here. In fact, I have seen young children scooping water out of a puddle into pitchers after it rains, surviving on less than a dollar a day. But they are also incredibly friendly saying “jambo” (hello) when I walk past.
I buy our vegetables at the local market, from women presiding over tiny wooden stalls laden with produce; tomatoes, onions, potatoes, and a wide range of herbs and greens that we are just starting to explore. Women everywhere can be seen walking home to their villages carrying their groceries on their heads. Dry staples come from “Mama Watotos” and other supermarkets. Our flat, located at Sheywe Guest House is a lovely self-contained suite with many bright windows and ironically some Canadian neighbours right from our hometown of Vancouver.
Other local wildlife include the massive storks that perch on trees outside our flat, and the ferral dogs that howl at exactly 8:30 every night. As it is now the rainy season, I never go anywhere without an umbrella. Each night, thunder storms rage in the sky but by morning the sun is shining and the puddle-hopping begins.