BY NJANGE MAINA
Mid last month, we planned to have an overnight camping with a group of friends. The camping was not the first event to have with the friends. Last year, we successfully organised a forest trail at Karura and hike at the Fourteen Falls. We were a group of 25 friends who met in college. My friends are the kind of people you would want in your social circles; humorous and affectionate.
Most of the conversations among us happen on our WhatsApp group. One of the members called Elijah is the one who always kicks off conversations on the group. He is the funniest of all; he keeps the group alive with fresh memes and jokes. Elijah knows when to post a joke and has mastered the art of joking; he jokes seriously.
James alias Jay is the next person to note in our group. Jay tries to act the Alpha male in the squad. I think it’s because he completed college earlier that the rest of us. But anyway, for the time being, we let him be. But no matter how funny Elijah may be or how suave Jay plays his cards, no one can beat the gentleness of Olivia.
As girly as she is, Olivia will always drive her point home. In almost every event, she’s the one who does most of the work. She collects contributions from our treasurer, help in budgeting and takes her meals after everyone has.
For this particular camping, all the 25 of us had confirmed to attend but eventually, only 10 of us turned up. Olivia, Jay and Elijah are not the type to disappoint; they are among those who turned up. We met at around 8pm at our meeting point, the National Archives, in Nairobi CBD. We then headed to Rowallan Camp at Ngong Forest. The journey through Ngong Road and Kibera slums took about 30 minutes.
At the camp, our tent had already been pitched. We cleared with the administration and proceeded to our tent. We were hungry and tired, so we needed food and rest and we soon embarked on a mission to make the evening meal. Olivia, in her usual element, quickly divided the tasks among us. The ladies worked on preparing the vegetables, meat and ugali, while men worked on firewood and water. Elijah was nowhere in particular, but all the while, his funny bone kept us alive.
Soon, the ugali, veges and beef stew were ready. We had our supper as we shared fond memories of our previous activities. We sat around the fireplace until odd hours of the night. One by one, we started retreating to the tent and into our sleeping bags. It must have been Olivia who left the fireplace last, I suppose.
The night was short, the least I can remember. The morning was rough and noisy. At around 6am, a sharp shriek tore through the tent and right into my ears. A baboon had sneaked into our tent and tried to make away with ugali leftovers from the previous night. And someone was screaming!
“Imeiba ugali, imechukua! (It has stolen the ugali, it has taken it!),” screamed some voice. It must have been the mention of ugali that woke me up and I watched in disbelief as the baboons feasted on what was meant to be our breakfast. Some stray dogs attacked the baboons and secured part of the ugali, but for themselves. That was instant karma; nature has a way of delivering punishment. Hahaa.
I woke up to the fullness of life in the half jungle and half order. At least, I loved most part of it. Soon afterward, the rest of the gang woke up. We prepared breakfast amid confusion and set ourselves for the day. We were soon to leave the camp. The next time we are having an event, we shall surely have a lot to talk about the Rowallan Camp.