May 1st is labor day here in Kenya, so it was a national holiday. Kenya takes its holidays seriously: everything shuts down. We can’t schedule any surgeries, as the staff gets the day off. A skeleton staff is in place for emergencies. One of my Kenyan colleagues is on call for the holiday weekend, so I had the day off!
Rift Valley Academy, being an international school, does not have the day off, so Michael and Jane headed off for class at 8 am. This left Ann and I with a whole day to relax! My friends Andy and Richard and I quickly organized a mountain bike ride, and headed out. We started out with our standard trail, “Awesome Sauce”, which winds through villages and breathtaking vistas of the Rift Valley for 14 miles. Midway through the ride, we scream down from 7500 feet almost to the valley floor at 6,000 feet, twisting and sliding past farmers fields, passing through herds of goats and cows, and providing the days entertainment for groups of school children. Then a big climb back up to the village on a muddy dirt road.
Andy had to head home to work on a paper, but Rich and I still had time to kill. I called Ann to see what her plans were, and she was more than happy to have me stay away from the house. It almost felt like she enjoyed her peace and quiet more than my company! Rich and I headed to a trail we call “Red Eye”, after the guy who touched a cactus plant, then wiped his eye, and suffered painful but temporary blindness while riding the trail.
A great addition to the area is Cafe Ubuntu. Located directly down the escarpment from Kijabe, on the valley floor, sits a beautiful cafe, complete with Italian espresso machine and wood fired pizza oven! Hard to believe, this diamond in the rough. From the Red Eye loop, we found a dirt trail/road which drops directly down through a small village, then fords a rushing stream, before depositing us at the doorstep of Cafe Ubuntu.
We’re definitely their filthiest clients, coming in covered in Kenyan mud from the river crossing and muddy trails. But they couldn’t be friendlier (as we sit outside), and bring us two steaming hot Americanos.
An hours climb, and we’re back in Kijabe in time for lunch, 30 miles of muddy exhilaration behind us.
Back home, the bike has to be disassembled and the mud worked out of every cog, nook, and cranny. Bike parts are impossible to get in Kenya, so maintenance is key.
Next up, Ann and I get ready to host our discussion group. It’s my turn to lead tonight, discussing being brought up Catholic, dispelling some myths about Catholicism, and having a really open discussion about the different streams of the Christian faith. Thanks to all of you who provided such thoughtful insights, I was able to use these in the discussion tonight. We really love our Serge team here: it would be hard to find such a kind, earnest, humble, and friendly group of people anywhere.