Camel convoy - a blog by Nicola Frampton

Day 6 in the camp was a well earned day off for the workers.  The day started with a “long lie in” until 7am followed by a good breakfast ahead of a morning camel ride.

As we approached the herd of camels stood ahead of us, we were welcomed by the sort of greeting only an angry camel chewing regurgitated green snot can give….what can only be described as a gurgling gob that they do their best to aim at you.

I asked Amanda about the location of the seat belts, to which she replied that they weren’t needed because camels were as safe as sofas. I don’t know what sort of sofas that John and Amanda have in their home but they definitely don’t stock them in DFS.

We each took our turns to get on board. An interesting experience surpassed only by the ultra high frequency scream from Linzi as her’s rose to a stand. Good job there were no windows in the vicinity!

So off we set in convoy. One camel tied closely to the other.  The views over the Ol Maisor Valleys were lovely with the ever present profile of Mount Kenya dominating the skyline on the horizon.

We walked for about an hour when all of a sudden Ollie Humphries shouted “I’m loose, I’m loose”. Another one with deli belly I wondered?  (there’s been a few). Nope, Ollie’s camel had become unfastened from the chain and was ready for the off.  Ollie had been talking the talk about wanting a camel race but when it came down to it, he wasn’t keen to walk the walk and became our polie polie Ollie (polie is swahili for slowly slowly).

The highlight though was when we arrived at the Ol Maisor village, home to many of the Island School’s students. We were welcomed by the local village parents with some Kenyan style dancing. Wasn’t long before we were all roped in to dance with them. Step up Andy Lidbetter. Who’d have thought he could throw such good shapes. A candidate for the next series of Strictly Come Kenyan dancing without doubt.

We were invited to see a traditional village home. Made of cow dung mixed with soil and sticks, it was remarkably cool and solid. But that’s about all even the most experienced estate agent would be able to put on the property particulars. I was viewing it from my perspective clearly, but three tiny rooms, one for sitting, one for sleeping and one for cooking. No natural light and a cow hide for a mattress. Its a tough life out here which the local people embrace. They make their own entertainment, sing and dance spontaneously and always have a smile on their faces.

It was also our chance to see the children here in their home environment. Old car tyres, bicycle wheels and sticks used like Victorian children, and poly bag footballs were their toys. No i-anythings, yet overall they seemed happy. I guess what you’ve never had, you’ve never missed but it puts your own life into a very different perspective.