Drunk British Soldiers

The last bit of business in Nanyuki was to do some house-hunting.  BOMA needs a more permanent set-up for housing our BOMA Fellows and interns and we are looking for a place that is large enough to provide housing as well as accommodate our office.  Most importantly, it needs to be in a secure and safe location.

Downtown Nanyuki

Nanyuki used to be a sleepy town of local people and white Kenyans who would occasionally come to town to frequent the Settler’s Store.  Then a large British military base was built on the edge of town.  Upwards of 9000 soldiers have descended on the town like locusts, eating up all the local housing (including half of the cottages at the Mt. Kenya Safari Club) as well as consuming massive amounts of alcohol.  Day or night, you see drunk soldiers on the streets of Nanyuki.  Desert camouflage vehicles clog the roads.  The security detail at the Mt. Kenya Safari Club told me that under no circumstances should guests go into town at night, risking the isolated stretch of road where cars are frequently attacked.  Even the local matatu driver bringing the night staff to the Safari Club gets a police escort.

“What about the British officers and wives that live at the Safari Club?” I asked.  “Oh, no one will mess with them,” I am told, “because everyone knows they are armed.”  My waiter at breakfast told me that a group of soldiers had arrived at the Safari Club gates at 3 am, drunk as skunks.

So we were quite pleased to find a landlord who had a nice 3 bedroom house to rent in a safe part of town.  Her only condition for renting the house was “no British!”  The price was still high, and out of reach of our budget, but Kura will continue the negotiations after I leave.

Sarah and I took a saloon car to Nairobi with a driver who appeared to know only the words “buckle up” in English and virtually no Swahili.  Somehow I manage to get dropped at the Fairview Hotel and Sarah at Wildebeest camp.  Sarah will take an early bus the next day to visit a friend in Arusha, Tanzania and I will don my safari company hat to inspect a few properties in Maasai Mara.  I had to cancel dinner with friends that night in Nairobi, still needing a night of antibiotics, pepto and room service.  I had an important meeting the next day and if I could get through another day of travel and the inspection of three camps in Maasai

Sekenani Camp in Maasai Mara

Mara, I would be able to arrive at my favorite camp in the Mara – Sekenani.  I was looking forward to seeing my great friend, Lkapur, the manager of Sekenani, who is also a Rendille from northern Kenya.  Lkapur is the most gracious host in all of the Mara and I knew a few nights by the fire with Lkapur was just the thing I need for a full recovery.


About Mama Rungu

Founder and CEO The Boma Project
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5 Responses to Drunk British Soldiers

  1. Mary Stone says:

    LOVE Sekenani camp, I have such food memories of that place, suspension bridge and all!! Glad you are feeling better Kathleen, and even more happy that you are spending a bit of time to relax at the firepit in Sekenani. ENJOY!!!!

  2. Teresa Cohen says:

    How far out of reach is the lovely home with 3 bedrooms? How long will you be renting it for? Does your organization need a permanent home/office there?

    • Mama Rungu says:

      We’d need to come up with about $130 per month more to stay within budget. If we were to get it we would likely keep it for a few years as Nanyuki will be our base until our region in northern Kenya gets basic things like phones, banks and decent roads. Thanks for all your interest Teresa! I got back to VT yesterday. Was in the hospital for most of the morning with tests to figure out what I picked up. Most likely a parasite – but nothing that some good drugs and a Thanksgiving meal can’t cure!

  3. George Hill says:

    heehe Mama Rungu,,,, listen this is my town and there are more lovely things than the drunk Brits who have no morals at times ,But am glad that the locals have tamed them ,,
    Could you say something more to the world that is good about Nanyuki,,,
    This is one of the most cosmopolitan town ,,,,in Kenya as old as 100 years ok ,, i love the rich mixture of all tribes and groups ,,,the calmness the sun the equator line the suburbs the people ,,,ohhh Nanyuki,,,,i love you ,,

  4. erick david says:

    I was in Nanyuki for one week and I just fell in love with the town,As a business man I think my next focus will be this great town. The aura of farming is awesome in this town. secondly you never know which region you are operation from, Central, Rift Valley or Eastern, this makes it more interesting. Mama Rungu, you wanna check out some positives about Nanyuki not just dwelling on drunken BA soldiers.

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