I can’t see the end. Grassy, rocky, thorny path. The grass is making me itchy. The rocks are cutting my tough hiking shoes. The thorns and giving me tatoos. Panting.
Can’t breathe. Why did I leave my super-fast laptop and internet to come here. Are we there yet? Oh, we are 20% done. Great! WHERE is my water? I had 2 liters 30 minutes ago. Why do I have only 200ml left? Do I drink it or do I pour it on my face to cool myself. Wait, is that a giraffe!!?? Are those gazelles!!? Am I GONNA DIE??
I have always told the members of my gang. Let us not wait for tourists and all these foreigners from US, UK and Korea to come here and tell us about Masai Mara, Amboseli etc, as they research about our primitive energy. Let us tour our country!
While all we do is go to Liddos and Mercury, spend thousands in a night, money that can be used for a WEEKEND to go out there as discover our country. The only place most of us have gone is Mombasa and Crayfish. Pathetic lot!
We live in a city where only 1 out of 10000 people have set foot in The Stanley, Intercon, Laico or Hilton. Where fables of how a cup of tea costs KSHS 10, 000 and how only wazungu SHOULD enjoy such privileges are believed. Inferiority complex. Allowing ourselves to believe that we are too shiitttty for the best, and thus, deserve the rest.
I went to Intercon last week Monday for breakfast with my crew before and after a demo in town and you could see prying eyes from the service personnel. “Can I help you?”, one asked, in a manner to suggest that we were in the wrong place. “Unless your left nipple is called ‘The F1 Key’, then you can’t help us, Bitch!”, I felt like responding. But I am a man of restraint. I let it slide.
I am meeting a client at The Stanley and I see foreigners enter without being questioned, but as soon as I reach the door, pass my Galaxy S1 and one of my my Galaxy S2s through the Bomb-Scanner, I get asked by the doorman “Tukusaidie? Unatafuta nani?”. I was appalled. “Natafuta mamako. Leo nam-mangia hapa Stanley. Songa nipite mbwa”, I felt like responding. But I am a man of restraint. I let it slide.
So, when Sam of @thenailab invited me for the weekly bash, I decided to just go and chill with the elite. The my friend and role-model, Kate, gave me a challenge. “Salim, we have a Hike tomorrow with Kwea Milele [Join Facebook group]. I will be happy if you can take a weekend off code and come join us. we are hiking to Mt Olorgesailie on Magadi Rd”.
I never back down from a challenge. So it was game on. After a restful night, I made sure I was at Kencom at 7am and we took off to the Hike at 830 after waiting for Members of the waLeviticus Crew to arrive. Ofcourse, there were about 6 people from the Nailab there, so I felt at home.
10. 50 Kms off Magadi. Hot like magma. The air was immediately demoralizing and intimidating. Let us climb.
It is said that it takes 3 hours to reach the top of the 4th ridge of the mountain. To the majority of us, reaching the top of ridge 2 would be good enough. So we set out. No foreplay, no nininini. Twende kazi.
The path was at first just rocky, with flat rocks that we could step on and move up on a gentle slope. Manageable. Like in life/code, new surroundings are intimidating but managable, of you can see the end. And, the end, we thought, we saw. Ohh how wrong we were.
My GPS calculations showed that the distance from the base to the highest peak of the mountain was 6.5 KMs. Straight. But no mountains are climbed straight. It is the same distance from Nakumatt Junction to Westlands, using Ngongrd-Valleyrd-Waiyaki. Short distance for a thug like me, I thought. The vertical ascent was just a 800M. The length of 3-4 soccer fields.
But this was a mountain we were climbing. A rocky mountain with pebbles and thorns which made sure we could only do 3 short steps per second, lest you roll downwards to your demise. A path ridden with thorns that made sure that if you were in rubber shoes, then you would finally understand why samosas are triangular, whilst chapatis are round.
There were 4 checkpoints. Climb->checkpoint->chillax-as-we-wait-for-people-running-on-pentium-1->climb.
It took 4 hours to reach the peak. Yes sound easy. Even your cat can do that, right? But ohh no! Not before my left leg died and felt like log, as I was 150 meters from the peak. “We have to chop it off”, I thought. the pain was unbearable. I have had muscle-pulls in my soccer days, but this was a repetitive satanic spasm. From my big left toe, through the gastrocnemius muscles to the adductor longus muscle. The pain! The knowledge that we are NEARLY there. The even sadder realization that the terrain was getting harder. The scrotum-shrinking reality that there are over 10 girls already at the peak.
But I had to finish this. We did not trek for over 10 Kms, to give up when the end was so nigh! I had to sit down for 10 mins and let the muscles relax. Let the oxygen flow to the muscles. Then I got up. This is Sparta! Forward! To the peak. And oh! The sight was therapeutic. For a moment, I forgot all my troubles. This is freedom. This was rejuvination.
But only for 45 minutes. Next came the descent. If one thought climbing against the pebbles and sliding rocks was hard, s/he was hit by the rude awakening to the fact that rocks slide downwards. Few of us made it at 6PM. Then fewer made it later on. The last soul made it at 8PM. Alive, but speaking in tongues.
Now, that, my KCPE people, was ‘A day I shall never forget’.
Back to code.