Saturday, July 15, 2017

Chyulu Part I: Baobabs are Real

A few weeks ago, we drove on "the highway of death" down to the Chyulu area so that LeRon could do financial training with the Chyulu District clerks and branch presidents.  We stayed at the lovely Kilaguni Lodge in Tsavo West National Park.  While LeRon went to the chapel in Makutano to do the training, I stayed at the Lodge and read and napped and watched the animals.  It was a great relaxing day and I really needed it.

On the way there and back, I snapped a lot of photos of baobab trees.  When we went to Tsavo in December, the baobabs were in full leaf as it was "summer" time.  Now it is "winter", or the dry season, and the leaves are gone so you can really see the shapes of the baobabs.  So glad I got to see the baobabs!  I've tried to pare down the photos but it's hard because I like so many of them.  You can just click really fast through them, I guess.

If you make it past the trees, you will see pictures of the dusty, red road to Makutano that is pretty interesting.  I tried to snap pictures of people too.  Almost all the pictures were taken out the car window as we zoomed by. 
I'm sure you're wondering what this is all about. . . . We were in a line-up of vehicles that went on for miles and miles.  We knew we would be there for an hour, so, being the Kenyan driver that LeRon has become, he followed a bus on a detour which took us for miles on the wrong side of the road and then down onto a very dusty road.  Kind of scary at times.  The photo shows what we were driving through.  Could barely see the bus ahead of us and hoped no one would plough into the back of us.

On the left is the line-up of vehicles on the highway and on the right is the road we were following.

Finally at the end of the dirt road, there were more vehicles trying to merge on to the highway, and, wonder of wonders, there were police directing the traffic to allow us to merge.  So glad we followed the bus even though I kept saying to LeRon, "This is a bad idea."  It turned out to be a very good idea.  And after all, we were in a Ford truck so we could go anywhere!

Love to see the cropland along the way.

Love the red soil.  Lots of little market stands along the way but we didn't stop.

I was excited to see my first baobab tree (on left) without leaves.  The ones on the right are younger, smaller baobab trees.  Only the baobabs had lost their leaves as far as I could tell.

Many different religions have set up their ministries in Africa.

Baobabs lose their leaves in the dry season to allow the huge trunks to suck up water.  The water swells the trunks.

LeRon thinks the trees belong in a "Lord of the Rings" type of environment.

Lots of baobab trees.

I remember learning about baobab trees when I was a little girl.  Probably in school.  Although we didn't learn much about Africa, we did learn some.

I wonder what my Dad would think of these trees.  He used to quote the poem, Trees, by Joyce Kilmer, who, by the way, is a man.  "I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree."  The poet, and my father agreed, that nature is more beautiful than anything man-made, such as a poem.  My dad loved trees and planted trees around our homestead.  (In Alberta, trees don't grow naturally; they have to be planted and watered and nurtured and even then they often die prematurely).

Such interesting shapes.

Love this baobab tree.

In the afternoon, when the sun goes behind a cloud, it seems almost like dusk.

A baobab tree silhouetted against the lovely clouds.

Election posters are even on trees.  I wonder who, if any, will take down the posters after the election.

This baobab looks like it belongs in Halloween, if you know what I mean.

Now we're on a very sandy road off the main highway and heading to Makutano.

I promise that I have only included about a quarter of the pictures I took of trees!

Click on this picture and you'll see vines growing into the trunk of the tree.

I talked with some people who didn't even notice the baobab trees even though they live around them.  I guess we are blind to the beauty around us.

Lovely silhouette.  The trunk has absorbed an awful lot of water.

This tree was so huge we couldn't take a picture of the whole thing.

Some baobab trees have some hollow spots inside but this one didn't.

We're on our way to the Makutano chapel.  LeRon wanted to find it Friday afternoon so that he wouldn't be late for the Saturday morning training.  If we had not had GPS, we would never have found the church.

Dusty, dusty road.  It would probably be impassable in the rainy season.

Lots of motorbike taxis, called boda-bodas.  The reason they are called boda-bodas is because they act as cheap taxis to take people from "border to border."  And Kenyans, being England English, don't pronounce their "r's".

A tractor! 

We were so surprised to find a lovely "normal" chapel (rather than a rented house) in this small village.  It is actually a District Center (similar to a Stake Center) and was very large.  Interesting that our churches look basically the same worldwide.  President Hinckley, a former church president, said that building churches the same has been done on purpose so they are easily identifiable.

Lots of cute school children on their way home from school on this Friday afternoon.  All school children wear uniforms.

Found this so interesting.  The grey cow is leading the brown ones as they pull their load.  When we drove up beside them, the grey one herded the others off to the side of the road until we were past and then herded them back into the middle of the road.  I'm sure there was a person there somewhere but I didn't see him.

Kenyan children are just like children anywhere in the world.  They go to school.  They play.  But unlike other children, they work really hard in their small garden plots to help provide food for their families.

Women walk long distances here.  That's probably why it's rare to find anyone overweight.

It's about 5:30 p.m. and getting to be dusk as the sun goes down about 6:30.  Love this lighting and the red soil and the baobab tree.

We saw this tree on the way to Makutano and I couldn't resist taking another picture on the way back.

Home time for these school children.

Like my Dad said, "There's nothing as lovely as a tree" even without its leaves.

Wish we could grow baobabs in Alberta but I don't think they would survive our winters!

1 comment:

  1. My association with baobab trees is from "Le petit prince" by St. Exupery. Maybe that is where you first learned about them, too?