This morning we met up with the truck at the Save the Children office, located in a leafy corner of Nairobi’s Westlands neighbourhood.
A special send-off
The entire staff from the Kenya country programme took a couple minutes out of their busy schedules to come out and wave us off.
Our staff here in Kenya are an extraordinary group of dedicated professionals from all across the country and all across the world.
They work on such a wide variety of complex programmes to help children across the country, that it’s rare for them to get the opportunity to come together like this and give their best wishes to a common venture that they’ve all worked hard to see succeed.
For those who work full time in Nairobi, seeing this truck off is a positive reminder to them that their work is directly connected to children who live so far away from the Kenyan capital.
After battling through the congestion of late morning Nairobi traffic, our truck driver, Ali, pulled into a petrol station to fill up the fuel tanks before we headed out of the city.
The roar of traffic passing by made it necessary to shout to one another as we waited for the station attendants to fill up the massive fuel tanks that would get us through the first leg of the journey.
We then joined the roar as we pulled out of the station and then pushed the heavy cargo of food aid up the Thika Highway, into the city of Thika, and then branched eastwards to start the journey to Garissa.
Green to beige
We drove for hours and hours over seemingly endless stretches of highway as the city of Nairobi disappeared behind us and the African savannah unrolled before us.
The further we journeyed from Nairobi, the more we saw the landscape change from green to beige – the colour of dry brush and rocky soil that characterises the vast Eastern Province of Kenya.
Because of the massive weight of the food aid we’re carrying to the children of north-eastern Kenya, the lorry had to struggle to reach anything approaching top speed, and the trip necessarily took longer than usual.
After nearly six hours on the road we had reached the town of Mwingi – the last main town before our destination of Garissa. By this time it was already 5.30pm. We still had three and a half hours of travel before us.
As we got nearer to Garissa, the sky gradually fell dark and the roads became bumpier and rougher. Somewhere around 8.30pm we passed a camel caravan trooping single file in the dark and I knew we had entered North Eastern Province.
We pulled into Garissa – by this time it was too dark to even make out our surroundings – and collapsed into our accommodation.
Tomorrow morning we’ll get up at 5.30am to begin the long journey through the desert, over roads with no tarmac, and through landscapes with no cities or towns until we reach our destination – an outpost called Habaswein. That’s the first drop off point for our life-saving cargo, where children affected by this food crisis our awaiting our shipment of food aid.
Read more about why children in east Africa need our help so much now. And please keep giving what you can to help fill trucks with life-saving aid.
Read Colin’s post for the previous day: