Artists for Conservation

I am running three days behind on these blogs. I will continue to try to catch up. Having trouble getting Internet connection. It will take me two days to get home.. so I should be all caught up by the time you all see me.

 

Today we bid Rwanda goodbye and continue this journey to Kenya. It was honestly very difficult to say goodbye to my friends in Musanze. My friend Jon Bosco, who kept me company over the last few days showed me pictures of his family and told me I was always welcome at his home. Rwanda is misunderstood. People fear it. I have fallen in love with it. A group of our friends arrived to see us off. 

Jeff, Stephen and I boarded an airplane to Kenya today. We are going to visit Artists For Conservation member Guy Combes. Guy is the son of Simon Combes, African painter extraordinaire, and, as Jeff explained, Guy has become one of the finest artists he has ever seen.

After Simon passed away, his wife, the beautiful Kat Combs, took on the massive task of turning his childhood home into a conservancy. She too has become another of the handful of unsung heroes that are throwing their lives into this land to save species from extinction. With her effort the Soysambu Conservancy came to life.

The road to Kigali was our first obstacle. Our friend Alex was at the hotel on time to pick us up, but on the way to the airport we were crushed to see the road blocked by a truck flipped over. The tractors trying to extract it from the ditch looked like they were going to be a while. Alex shouted until they let us pass.

TRUCK DOWN!

The plane from Kigali was cancelled. We were told to wait until the next flight was called. In yet another instance of miscommunication, we were later left running at top speed to catch our flight.

Ah Africa…

After a fast flight and even faster customs check, we discovered that no one had shown up at the customs exit today, so we just entered the country bags unchecked. Our film equipment agent was also caught in traffic, so we saved a little money. Finally we met up with Guy and his cousin Murray.

Guy is a bundle of smiles and laughter. Murray is extremely eloquent and quick with a quip. Instantly I felt at ease. Kenya was going to be a blast.

‘Kofi Annan is in town’ Guy explained… “Traffic might be bad.”

..and this is a country road!

I have never spent four hours in traffic in all my life. No really… FOUR HOURS!! It was hot, and the car was full of exaust as it was worse to close the windows. I think we actually ony drove about 10 klms… My brain was dead, I was exausted. On the upside, when the traffic is bad the streets fill with vendors. You could do all your shopping on the commute home here!

Finally we arrived at the Muthaiga club. Spirits changed instantly. We stepped from smog filled streets in to the past of British Colonial Africa. Guy and Murray were the perfect accent to the occasion. They fit right in with relaxed British Demeanor and matching Gin and Tonics.

The Muthaiga club was featured in Out of Africa. It is the real deal. Home to explorers, celebrities and dilettantes from around the world, this place was the ultimate old world club. Complete with rules about hats and laptops at the dinner table, rooms for members in transit or too tipsy to get home, and an increadible restaurant featuring perfectly aged beef. After a week of the simple fare in Rwanda, we experienced the ultimate treat. In retrospect, in our khaki, sweat drenched clothing we musta looked a fright.

WOW

Easy conversation of conservation went well in to the night and I passed out content with life and the world again. I took some time to talk with Jeff over the weeks events, and before you knew it, it was morning and we sprang up to begin our first African Safari. It took us all day to get out of the city. Traffic might be bad is an understatement in Nairobi. “Traffic might be an epic hell that makes you want to puke.” There, that’s more accurate.

The Rift

Finally here we stand, a crew of Muzungu’s in deepest Africa. We stand on the edge of a cliff about to embark on an entirely different kind of adventure. After the difficulty that Jeff and Steve experienced the last few days, it is finally time to crack a few smiles. There is a reason Guy and his family always come back to Soysambu. This might just be why.

The Rift Valley

This is Guy's backyard. I have a feeling it is worth saving.

W

 

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