“Njia ya siku zote haina alama”
An everyday path has no signpost. Experience makes things easy.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen on my stories and highlights that in October 2020 I took a walk with a few of my friends from Diani beach down to the Kenya – Tanzania border. Yes, we walked along the beach and partly through the main Lungalunga-Ramisi Road for 4 days. The entire journey was 127 kilometers, and we walked for 80 of those kilometers. Cumulatively, over a period of 4 days, we walked for a total of around 30 hours.
Ok Mumbi, that sounds interesting, but why would you do this?? Honestly, we just felt like it. This was a test in perseverance and strength. This was the first time I have ever used, let alone purchased, a sleeping bag and tent.
I’m aware that this blog post is long overdue, however, this is a story that I wanted to tell in retrospect, after the dust settled and I could look back on the expedition with a clear mind. I want to give a huge shoutout to my good friend Kelly (pictured below), whose idea it was to take this walk.
The ocean is vast, deep, and largely unexplored. I like to think of the earth in the same way.
Our trip began on the beach in Diani where we gave our salutations to the sun and said a prayer. I learnt a Swahili proverb that says “safari ya hatua huanza guu mosi guu pili“, the English version being that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
In a span of four days, our expedition took us to Kaya Kinondo Sacred Forest, Gazi – where we swam amidst the mangrooves, Msambweni beach, Milalani, Shimoni – where we visited the slave caves and subsequently found out that the place Shimoni actually gets its name from the caves, Marenje Forest, Lunga-Lunga town, and ultimately, the border.
Swipe right on the image below to see a few pictures from the 4 days.
Whenever I have been telling this story, the first question I get (apart from why we did it in the first place) is where we slept. I learnt one of the benefits of owning a tent, is that you kind of have a portable home. I remember on our first night on arrival at a village along the way, we were hosted on a compound where we pitched our tents for the night, and the resident of the compound went to the length of cooking supper for us, and in the morning escorting us back to the main road. Over the span of four nights, we slept in one village, pitched our tents at one hotel in Shimoni, a forest, and Lunga Lunga town.
When we finally got to the border, all I could think about was how funny it is that nations are divided by imaginary lines in the ground. That even the slightest variation in the drawing of a map sparks wars. It reminds me of the quote “Borders are scratched across the hearts of men by strangers with a calm, judicial pen; and when the borders bleed we watch with dread, the lines of ink across the map turn red” – Marya Mannes.
I learnt quite a number of lessons during our week of walking.
1. My body is so strong. I mean, when my mind channels the energy I carry within me, there’s no telling what my body can accomplish. Walking 80 kilometers is not a small feet. This journey made me want to take care of my body more, and appreciate all the things that I am able to do. My body really is a temple.
2. How to pack light. To know me is to know that I carry 2 weeks worth of clothes for a 2 day trip, ‘just in case’. I have learned however, that when going on the trip of a lifetime, it’s best to travel light.
3. How to pitch a tent. As you can imagine, our tents were the most important part of our luggage. Our tents were literally our homes, which in itself was an extremely surreal feeling.
It’s funny, on reaching the border and spending a night in Lunga Lunga, we took a matatu the next day back to Diani – a journey that took as less than an hour and a half! This is the same distance we had been walking for FOUR days, and by motor vehicle it took us a fraction of the time.