I think that if I could live in one place in Kenya, it would be Nanyuki. I love it here, and don’t tell Peace Corps, but I may secretly ship Gavin off to Europe and take over his life. I don’t think Gavin would mind. And mind you, I am writing this entry while it is pouring outside and is relatively chilly, which are usually not good days to judge that you like a place.
I didn’t first love Nanyuki when I visited here back in August for a perma-culture workshop. Driving up here, the land was gray and barren, and, well, not very inviting. Nanyuki town was nice, but I was too obsessed with surrounding barrens and the annoying hawkers at the, “You Are At The Equator,” sign and the not-so-relevant workshop to really appreciate the town for what it is.
Coming back here during the rainy season, the land is beautiful. Even the neighboring Naru Muru is relatively green and alive. Of course, all the rain means there is also a lot of mud (matope), but that’s OK because it’s impossible to escape mud in Kenya anyways. On top of the lushness, you are occasionally gifted with a view of Mount Kenya, the spiky, rebellious, second tallest mountain in Africa. It used to be the tallest, but then a glacier fell off and Kilimanjaro claimed the crown. Such are the wars fought by mountains.
Nanyuki also has an interesting cultural blend. From the Kenyan side you have a predominantly Kikuyu group mixed with Meru coming over for Meru lands in the east, and then the usual smattering of all other tribes. Though you will hear a lot of Kikuyu being spoken on the streets, Kiswahili is still understood and is the casual language between members of differing tribes. Aside from the Kenyans, there are also a good deal of, “Kenyan Cowboys,” or white people born and raised in Kenya during colonial times who have chosen to stay and live here permanently. They own ranches on the outskirts of town according to Gavin. Add in an extensive British Army base and a healthy number of tourists who use Nanyuki as a base for climbing Mt. Kenya and you never really know who you will run into in town.