I watch the yellow sun making its ascent up the sky when we get to Elementaita. It is cushioned between two pockets of foamy clouds the shape of mountain ranges. They reflect silver and gold and orange on their edges.
The rising sun is an attraction. It’s majestic. It’s a marvel, one that draws your spiritual being into its genius. It invites your imagination into its presence and waves a wand that leaves you stupefied. How can you not be dazed by how gorgeous it is? The beauty of the sunrise is like the girl I’m head over heels smitten with.
If sunrise is to enter a competition, its biggest rival will be sunset. When both take their positions in the East and West at the far end of the clouds, they make peacocks look ordinary. They make the rainbow bow in respect. They are a class act.
The sun is the sun. It is king and queen in its sun-dom. It calls the shots. It can be what it wants to be. It can strike with rays that roast brains that are comfortably resting in craniums. It is a driver of photosynthesis, the process through which plants make their food. Is that right? I’m not sure.
The only place I’ve seen with as many acacia trees as Elementaita is Murchison Falls National Park. Single stem acacia trees with malnourished leaves. Healthy acacia trees that look as though they’ve grown up in a home where mother acacia fed them on a diet of proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins. There are multiple branched acacias. Tall acacias, stunted acacias. Acacias on both sides of the road. The Elementaita guys missed the opportunity to call that place, Acacia Place. Some folks in Kololo took advantage of that miss. There is an Acacia Place on John Babiiha Avenue in Kampala. That’s where I am seated right now, weaving this story with a cup of House Coffee from Java House.
The mountainous backdrop with horizons that stretch a far keeps my eyes glued to the window of the bus. The soil is a blend of the colours of snow, clay and nimbus clouds. It reminds me of cake from OneRwak with a combination of flavors. Mr. Driver has increased the volume of music in the bus. He’s playing Sam Mangwana’s Transberos from the album, Patria Querida. I’m subconsciously swaying my head to the guitar riff.
We’re in Gil Gil.
Zebras dressed in their stripes are having breakfast on the grass about 15 meters from the tarmac. They have kobs for company. Their co-existence is an inspiration. There’s no rift between themselves. The zebras aren’t jealous of the kob’s curly horns. The kobs don’t feel threatened by the white and black stripes they see. They eat from the same field of grass, drink from the same watering hole. One kob is doing a run like it’s a dry run for when a predator decides to chase it. Its front legs are raise. The hind ones are on the ground. It’s competing with this bus I’m in. It knows it has got to beat the fastest running predator to survive if life ever comes to that point. It doesn’t want to be caught off guard. So it practices.
There is a group of guinea fowls picking the early morning worms from the soil. Their bodies are spotted with polka dots. I can’t see their beaks because their heads are all down. Their wings are lowered in a position of comfort. It’s a sign there’s nothing they are worried about. It’s the worms that are fighting for survival. The Guinea fowls are having a party, a living testament to the proverb, “the early bird catches the worm”. A pair of pigeons is perching on a power line. They are looking towards the sunrise. I think the male pigeon asked its crush out on a date. They had been friends for a long time.
“Hey, I’d like to take you to a place I think you’ll like,” he told female pigeon.
“Who? Me?” female pigeon sneered.
She gave off what she thought was a dismissing laughter. Male pigeon saw through it. It was scribbled in her eyes. She wanted to go but didn’t want it to make it easy for him.
“Yes, you. Unless you want me to go out with myself. That’ll be sad but well…,” he drifted into silence.
She said no more. The smile in her eyes spoke it all. The next time their friends saw them was on that line as they watched the sun ascending into the sky. They watched the beauty of the sunrise with their wings touching. Male pigeon then flew with female pigeon back to her coop. He made sure she was safe and had some seeds to eat before he left for the rest of the day. That’s how female pigeon fell for him. They are now in a relationship.
There are more birds in the sky. Birds with charcoal looking backs and fanta chests and birds with patches of chalk.
We drive past a matatu with the word “Nuclear Ambush” calligraphed on its emergency exit. An abandoned car tyre lies in the grass on the left side of the road. The sun disappears behind the cushions of those clouds. We pass Delamere Estate – Manera Farm. It has a fence of cacti that runs from here to where I didn’t notice.
We get to Naivasha and stop at the gate of Merlin resort. A man disembarks with a back pack. He jumps on a piki piki. We proceed. There is a signpost for a 7-acre piece of land for sale. It has miserable looking maize plants. That garden of maize looks so ugly it can scare away a scarecrow. If it were a dog, it would be a rabid stray dog that hasn’t had a bone and a good meal for days it could drop dead any moment. I had never seen such an eye sore of a maize garden. The garden of Sukuma wiki made up for it though. It was much healthier.
I see a sad looking donkey eating grass. There are more equines as the drive continues. And sheep show up too. I see sheep with thick wool dripping from their bodies. They are grazing in the green. In an instant, the baby switch in me is turned on. I’m singing in my head, Ba ba black sheep, have you any wool? And there are goats and cows. But sheep take the day. So I keep singing the nursery rhyme. Ba ba black sheep, have you any wool?
There are gardens of beans and tomatoes and more miserable looking maize. I feel sorry for those maize plants. They deserve better. But they’ve settled for what their bosses have handed them. There are gardens contoured by the hill side to control soil erosion. We drive past a forest of pine and eucalyptus trees. And more terrible looking maize. We enter into a foggy part of the forest. The temperature lowers. I pull the zip of my jumper up and yank the hoodie over my head to keep my ears from getting punched by the cold. The morning sun has been eaten up by the clouds for a moment and the cold is dancing what seems like a victory dance.
I kip off. It happens so swiftly I don’t catch myself drifting into this sleep. I’m woken up by the humps leading to the road diversion to Nairobi.
I’m in Nairobi for love.