Saturday at Twala, Soames, and Nanyuki town

Here’s Denis at the Twala Cultural Center Bead Room.
You can buy handmade Massai artwork there.  

Today (Saturday), I spent traveling with Moses, Stephen, and Denis all about the area.  We started out with leaving at 8:30 on the dot (after coffee and bread roll for me – for some reason, I can eat the wheat products here in Kenya without crumpling up into a ball in pain).  We headed to Twala Cultural Center, passing the sign for the Massai Cricket Warriors who are located there, to meet Rosemary and talk about details for a stay at Twala.  I am preparing for a course that I proposed for next year at Saint Mary’s.  For anyone who wants to know about this great center, created and run by Massai women, with 10% of all income going to girl’s education, here are the costs:  

1500 shillings (about $15) for the entrance fee, which includes a cultural dance and singing at the entrance, a tour of the area, information about Massai cultural traditions.  For an additional 500 shillings (about $5), you can also halso work alongside the women, particularly with the goats to learn more about that practice.  To stay onsite in the bandas (traditional Kenyan housing that is super comfortable), its 2000 shillings (about $20) a night or 2500 shillings (about $25) including meals.  If you rent a tent from Daraja, they charge 1000 shillings a night (about $10), and you can stay for just 500 shillings a night (about $5) if you bring your own tent, which is QUITE a deal.  
For only an extra 2000 shillings (about $20), you can get a guided tour on a baboon walk in the morning or evening when they are most active.  Cultural traditions may also include dance of the warriors and participation in a feast.  You can attend Market Day in Dol Dol, which happens twice a week, and depending on the season (has to be in the rainy season) attend a manyata, or the transition of junior youth to senior youth, a celebration that generally lasts a few weeks, if I remember correctly.  
Denis and Stephen on either side of Rosemary.

I talked with Rosemary, who is a phenomenal representative for the group, about the details.  They can host up to 6 in individual rooms, but up to 12 in the bandas if people double up in beds.  Also, from my last visit, I remember that if folk are interested in staying in traditional Massai housing, a homestay can be arranged.  AND there’s a conference center/meeting room with space for, easily, 50 people to meet comfortably on site that can also be booked for a meeting.  

I definitely would like to work in a visit to the Twala Center, if this course is approved.  

Natural wonders are the norm in Kenya.  

After that, we headed back to get lunch, passing a giraffe along the way.  In Laikipia County, such wonders are the norm.  On the way to the Twala Cultural Center, we saw an adult male giraffe nearby a young giraffe, which was still the size of a small tree.  We also saw a herd of healthy impala, about 30 or so in the herd.

About 30 minutes of travel on dirt roads and 10 on paved through Nanyuki town, led us to the outskirts with access to a number of cool restaurants.

Here’s the view from our table at Soames.

We ended up at Soames, a BEAUTIFUL restaurant with, what I would guess from the lobby alone, luxurious rooms.  I have some pictures from the experience to post.  Definitely high quality food that, in the Bay Area, would cost 3 or 4 times what I paid there.  


Me, Moses, Stephen, Grace, and Denis at Soames.

While at lunch, we had the added pleasure of an additional guest:  Grace Wanene, who is a beauty queen.  She recently competed for World Kenya and placed in the top 5.  WOW!  She also has work with mentoring young women in career practices.  SO Interesting!  We are now instagram friends, so I am definitely going to follow her work.  @wanene_grace   
After a great conversation (American politics, music, movies, books, cultural similarities and differences, what you do for fun in Nanyuki, Daraja info and fundraisers, etc) and getting to know those at the table better, we headed back to Nanyuki for a brief stop.  Shopping for me, connections/shave/grocery shopping for the others.  Ah, and I also had a short walk about the shopping plaza, bought some more souvenirs, had an ice cream, and met some cool people along the way.  
I like to look at real estate when I am in places.  Saw a 4 bedroom house with 3 bandas and 3 guest houses for $25000.  I also learned more about a region in the south where one can learn Italian… can I move to Kenya to learn Italian to communicate with my in-laws?   Needless to say, I’m having a wonderful time learning and connecting with folk.  

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