Nairobi To Cape Agulhas: A Pastor’s Motorcycle Journey

NICK KIPLANGAT KORIR- A pastor’s guide to adventure riding in Africa

In September 2013, I was told by friends in the Nairobi biking circles of a pastor who was planning a motorcycle adventure to South Africa and back. I pictured a portly man in black pants, white shirt with collar and a weathered bag slung over shoulder containing his bible and note book. He probably rode a no frills 125 Cc Honda TVS, that was gifted by his congregation in recognition of his work ethic around the parish ministering to the flock.

I had written a Motorcycle Travel column in a past life for the Drum East Africa magazine and naturally a sucker for a good bike travelogue. We eventually met up in a production office in Westlands for a brainstorming meeting to consider shooting a documentary of the ride. I realized that I knew so little about pastors.

Time To Kick My Plastic Habit.

Ojuala is a ball made of strips of compacted plastic bags and held together by interwoven sisal rope. These balls were well crafted. They bounced off walls and let out a resounding thud when they connected with a striking foot. Young boys reused and recycled in the days of scarcity and kicked ojuala balls around Nairobi estate roads back when Maradona was the big name in football. Plastic bags were not the standard fare in the 70s and 80s. Supermarkets packed sugar in brown bags, chips was served on square strips of plain paper and meat was wrapped in newspaper. Hence the phrase, Gazeti ni ya kufunga nyama”.

Missing The Forest For The Trees

There is a concept in corporate governance called the Hammer principle.

It states, never use a hammer to swat a fly on someone’s head. It won’t end well.

American psychologist  Abraham Maslow, in his book, “Psychology of Science” talks about this over reliance of a familiar tool in his famous quote, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as is it were a nail”.

Maslow’s law of the hammer came to mind as soon I caught the news on the latest happenings on the security front. Al Shabaab militants had wrecked havoc on innocent civilians in Lamu county and varnished into Boni forest. Coast regional coordinator, Nelson Marwa was livid when he addressed a press conference. He looked like a man itching to throttle someone. Nelson Marwa is known for his hyper aggressive staunch and Napoleonic complex but it was what he said that made me sit up. In response to the recurring Al Shabaab terror raids, KDF air strikes were ordered to flush the militants out of their secure hideouts in the dense Boni forest.  

Rebels Without A Pause

Meet some members of the drinking club with a running problem

I first heard about the hash about four years ago from one mouthy character in a pub, and assumed that it was his own invention. He portrayed the group as a pack of seemingly demented men and women who regularly jog through the neighbourhoods of Nairobi. About a year ago I learned that the hash was for real, and it wasn’t long before I got very interested in what was once described as the fastest-growing ‘club’ of the 1980s.

Why are all the black faces in conservation in the background?

Nairobi National Park is the only park on earth bordering a capital city. It is the world’s wildlife capital and one afternoon in December 2016, it was celebrating 70 years of existence. Nairobi National park was the first gazetted park in the country, started in 1946. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) was throwing an evening party in the park to commemorate the event. The small gathering, comprised conservationists, friends of Nairobi national park, assorted Kenyans who earn a living in the wildlife industry and uniformed KWS staffers who appeared to be attending more out of protocol than choice.

There was an air of resignation about the place. Out at the Impala observation point, a panoramic view of open savanna grassland, guests mingled awaiting the arrival of the dignitaries as the catering unit from the Ole Sereni hotel hurried about setting up.