Originally written on March 13 – All weekend I was told that it had been seven years since I had made a trip to the small city of Nakuru, then today before I left I was told that it had actually been nine years. Wow! I can’t believe that I passed through, but had not made an actually visit to this small city known for it’s lake and flamingos. I guess that was why I was so determined to make a visit to see my friends Pastor Joel and his wife, First Lady Ruth, and the Beautiful Courts Christian Church.
One of the things I love about Kenya is it’s natural beauty in just about every city or village one visits. I guess part of that is due to the fact that Kenya is a part of the Rift Valley (the Rift Valley goes from Egypt, or Israel according to some, all the way down to Mozambique) . So you are constantly seeing hills, mountains and valleys as you drive through much of the country. Of course there are also the savannas and the gorgeous coast. But the Rift Valley is a must see…the delight of seeing the valley floor as one looks down from the high grounds of the Rift. No matter how many times I see it I fall in love with it over again each time snapping pictures like it is the first time I’ve looked upon such beauty…I fall in love over and over.
This past weekend I had to the opportunity to fall in love with new parts of the Rift Valley, natural wonders of God’s hand. On Friday morning before I was to speak at the lunchtime service in Nakuru my host took me to see the Menegai Crater, that is reported to be over 800 years old, with the last eruption being 300 years ago. Though the crater is an active volcano it is safe to visit the upper ridges or to even hike down into it and enjoy it up close and in person. Of course due to time we viewed the crater from the ridge.
One of the things I learned about the crater or the power of an active but dormant volcano it has the ability to be a source of clean energy. The Kenyan government realized this ability a few years back and have started to drill down into the crater to pull energy that will be available to source the whole of the nation in about three months time. This will be great for a country that gets most of its energy from water sources. During times of drought like now, the country often have times when the power is cut for most of the day so that electricity can be available in the evenings. Oh, how we in America take electricity for granted.
Viewing the crater, actually my first time seeing a crater in person, was an amazing moment. To see something so beautiful, that was once so destructive full of destructive force, was the opportunity of a life time. Photos will never show what delight the eyes enjoy when looking upon such natural beauty in person.
Another opportunity that I enjoyed during my time in Nakuru was a day trip to Nyahururu in central Kenya to see the Thompson’s Falls. The falls are very small in comparison to the famous Victoria Falls of Zimbabwe and Zambia. None the less, it was a beautiful sight to see. However, my host had no idea what it would take to go or to come back up. There was no usual path down that one might find in other countries. This was all about trusting your legs and arms to work for you. The journey down was tricky, but the way up was painful and exhausting for everyone…even the young people. But once down near the falls it was like being in the middle of a lush green hole full of trees and rock formation surrounding you on every side. We chose not to go to the pool or base of the falls due to the strong mist. To see such beauty close up, watching others take it all in was a personal pleasure. Unlike Americans or Europeans, Kenyans are often the last to enjoy their natural beauties that bring tourist to their country. So I was enjoy both the sites and nationals enjoying what their country has to offer. Most of the visitors seemed to Kenyan nationals, and I stood out like a sore thumb once I opened my mouth…and also because I was the only one sweating on the way back up.
One the drive back to Nakuru we made a stop near a curio shop that had a lookout spot. You could look down and see the valley of the Great Rift. It was so beautiful, with all of it’s green lush producing fields. Kenyans are often amazed when I tell them that we study about the Great Rift Valley in American schools. They have no idea that the West considers that to be a part of the history of human civilization. Throughout Kenya there are so many wonderful spots to take in the beauty of the Great Rift Valley floor…always worth taking a moment to just gaze upon the beauty of God’s handy work.