Leaving Masai Mara turned out not to be as difficult as getting to it, but the only obstacle was meeting up with Jon from Kigali in Kisumu before heading to North-western Kenya. Jon took off a couple weeks from work and decided to join me for the tail-end of my journey, and bring me back safely and sanely to Kampala where I had only just booked my return flight home from.
We both arrived at the chaotic bus station in Kisumu around 8pm, but apparently it’s a hoppin place to be so every hotel but the last we tried was full. We ate some tough chicken and Tusker lager for dinner, and the following day set off for Tulwet. The bus we chose told us they were leaving in 20 minutes and pulled out 50 minutes later, and then took 4 hours instead of the quoted “3,” but this was all very good according to East African terrestrial travel standard.
We were greeted in Kitale, the nearest town to Tulwet, by Maina, a project organizer for Freewaters. He works for a Kenyan company called Love Mercy Drilling, and they helped facilitate the bore-hole drilling.The Freewaters Kenyan team leaders Barnabus and Franco took me and Jon out to the field, into the heart of Tulwet village. We drove along mud-red roads meant for bare-footed people, so the old range rover barely scraped through the narrow trails to each of the 6 wells we would visit.
They were scattered around the rural village, spread out so that no family would have to walk more than a kilometer to fetch fresh water. We also visited one dry well, and at the drop of a rock discovered it was full of water, making the Freewaters project 7 wells strong.
The villagers, especially the numerous children, always ran out to greet us, watching intrigued at our examination of every well. They admired silently, but once in a while peeped out a smile or word of thanks. They looked at me as the personification of their Freewaters gift, and wanted to hold my hand and thank me over and over for the clean water they now have, and all the healthy children and seniors who have stopped dying from contaminated water and water-borne diseases. They asked for more wells and more visits, yet had no idea how the shoes I was wearing were the reason behind the project.