The long train ride (Bebeth)

After leaving Bungoma for our site visit we headed to Kisumu to catch the train with 15 other trainees. Depending on your perspective the train can be much better or much worse than the bus. It costs the same amount, takes 13 hours instead of 8, and you get a sleeper car. From our perspective it was a great deal. The 13 hours are always at night so you get a good nights sleep, don’t have to pay for a hotel room (always an issue in the peace corps!) and during the daylight hours you can watch the landscape go by. All of us boarded at 6:30 pm in Kisumu and set off on our adventure. There was plenty of hanging out, eating junk food for dinner, etc. Around 10 pm most of us were asleep. Aside from being cold (next time I will definitely bring a sleeping bag) it was really a great night of sleep. When I woke up, however, I had that sense that we had not moved for much of the night. I assumed that it was just that I had happened to wake up at the points when we were stopped…like we were at that moment. After not moving for another hour (and seeing lots of passengers OUTSIDE the train) we decided to go investigate. It turns out that we had only gone a distance equivalent to 4(!) hours of travel. During the night the engine had broken down and they had to change it. This “new” engine was now broken down again and we were currently waiting for a new one to come. Since all the locals were outside the train we too decided to go exploring. Our car was in a place where the walls were too high to see anything, but once we walked up past the first car the views were spectacular! We were in the middle of the Rift valley which is incredibly lush. 4 hours later, still having not moved, the sense of adventure was wearing off. Eventually the engine did come and we set off again. At 2 pm we were finally in Nakuru. It would have been another 6 hours on the train to Nairobi, but only 3 by matatu, so Peace Corps told us to get off and get on a matatu so that we’d be in Nairobi before dark. At 5:30 pm we finally pulled in to various hotels in Nairobi exhausted and ready for showers. All in all it took us almost 24 hours! Unlike some, we still plan on taking the train, we just hope it doesn’t take as long next time. Karibu Kenya!

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