I learnt about the white highlands of Kitale way back in my primary school days. I have been an avid reader since I was a kid. I remember coming across a Swahili novel, Siku Njema by a renowned Novelist Ken Walibora. It is through this book that I got to learn about Kitale, the big white settler farms, black Africans who bought the settler farms after independence when he writes about the story of Kongowea Mswahili who went to look for his father in Kitale. I also got to learn about Cherengani Hills and the cool environment surrounding it from the book. Years later, I am now in Kitale for a two-months job assignment.
When I arrived in Kitale, I was eager to experience the cold environment whose coldness is almost similar to my Limuru, my hometown Kitale. I arrived at a time when short rains had just started and you could help but admire the green maize plantations across the region. For those who are not familiar with the Kitale, it is in Trans-Nzoia County which is among Kenya’s most important food baskets. It produces almost all the maize that is consumed in Kenya. The town also lies between the gentle rolling Cherengani Hills and Mt Elgon.
Like other rural areas in Kenya, boda-bodas are the main modes of connectivity between towns and farms. I approached one bodaboda rider and negotiated the prices (Kenyan way). Within minutes the bodaboda rider was at full speed and we were out of the busy Kitale town towards Manor House Agricultural Centre which is 12 Kilometres from Kitale town.
Mike, one of my colleagues was ready to receive me. I was lucky enough to arrive moments before lunch. We were served with a meal of Ugali and local vegetables (known as Kunde in Swahili). I got acquainted with the team which comprised of students from Kenyan and American Universities thereafter. I stayed at Manor House for a couple of days working with the team before I headed back to Maseno to prepare further for my stay in Kitale. It was only a matter of days (actually not days, 48 hours to be precise) before I headed back to Kitale ready to do something that I am passionate about; work with primary schools in rural Kitale in education technology.