Oh, wow. This was an adventure and I'm just beginning to recover from it. We took the train around a month ago from Nairobi to Mombasa, thinking it'd be romantic and adventurous. We were wrong. It was pretty hellish and resulted in some sort of food-borne pathogen and 32 hours of sweaty, claustrophobic, hungry discomfort. However, I can now look at the pictures without a full-body cringe and discovered that there were actually some fun moments and a little adventure (besides the train taking 32 hours instead of 13). Please note that we still do not recommend the train under any circumstance.
I've discovered "Stoney Tangawizi", a popular soda drink here. I have no idea what flavor it is, but it tastes sharply gingery. I like it. This is our train compartment, I'm sitting on the lower bunk and there is an upper bunk that Nathan slept on.
Dinner was really, really bad. Even the novelty of eating on a train did not make up for it. Mushy bland rice, canned vegetables in salt sauce, preceded by a clear flavorless snot-textured soup and followed by about 4 tiny cubes of mushy fruit. Disappointing.
Usually the train travels through the night, arriving the next morning between 8 am and 10 am. This means that the many tiny dusty towns that the train passes through see the train in the wee hours of the night, however due to the delays, the train passed through the towns during daylight. This was an endless source of entertainment for the children, who would run towards the train, waving wildly, shouting "sweets!"
It was entertaining for a while but we had no sweets to give out. Nathan played guitar for hours at one end of the car, I read a book.
Many of the towns looked like this.
I'm pleased I was able to capture this picture while the train ambled by at about 7 mph. This is a bunch of village women collecting water from a 'well'. The well is basically a pit dug into the ground that collects muddy spring water. I'm guessing it's one of the villages only sources of water. People bike and walk from kilometers away with plastic jerry cans (which are ubiquitous here) to fill them up with the muddy water. It's hard work. Many of the villages that Nathan's organization's partners work with use the same system to collect water, which is used for drinking, bathing, and cooking. The organizations try to find alternate, cleaner water sources, like drilling boreholes, collecting rainwater, or installing rudimentary filtration devices.
I promise the next entry will have cute animal pictures and be more cheerful!