I have finally made it back to where I belong. After being evacuated to the UK nearly four months ago while the world was in the midst of a global pandemic, lock down has gradually eased globally and following President Kenyatta’s address, borders in Kenya have re-opened with the commencement of international flights taking place from 1st August 2020.
My return to Kenya came suddenly with less than 24 hours notice of an available flight. Needless to say, packing the suitcases that I had lived out of was tackled swiftly and I left Larkhill in a coach at around 0430 hours.
My departure from the UK was almost similar to the initial evacuation in that it came quickly and was almost frantic, moving under cover of darkness but unlike the forced removal from my home, the excitement in returning to my husband in Kenya was almost audible and I could hardly contain myself. So with face masks abound, a certificate reflecting a negative result from a coronavirus test, strict adherence to social distancing, my journey back to Kenya commenced with fervour.
The flight back was uneventful but there was an inherent strictness in complying with the Covid rules and regulations. I must admit the face mask whilst compulsory is not overly comfortable when stuck in a confined place. That said, after such an early start, I was able to get substantial rest on the plane so I was not overly fussed about the stuffy environment and this actually aided my ability to sleep.
Upon reaching Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, it felt as alien as when I left. It was deserted and human traffic minimal. The incessant queuing was still the same as the passengers from the plane filtered through, maintaining social distancing at all times and completing numerous medical forms and health checks. Temperatures were taken and evidence that I was free from disease presented.
After filing my way through the deserted airport, to my utter delight, Mr Nomad was waiting to greet me! Reunited at long last! I was ecstatic to see my husband after this forced time apart. I had to travel separately to Mr Nomad as he had work commitments, but we hit the road as soon as possible to travel back to Nanyuki. The overnight curfew is still in place in Kenya but having arrived on an international flight, there is a waiver for those people entering the country during those curfew hours so as long as evidence of the flight can be provided, our movement around the country was unrestricted.
I arrived back in Nanyuki at around 0300 hours so it had been a long and exhausting journey but I couldn’t hide my joy at being home. As if to welcome me back, as we drove home, we came across a porcupine! This strange creature is notoriously timid and we have never seen one before so to witness such a creature bumbling along our street was wonderful!
But then to meet up with the furry children! I had missed Hound Solo and Princess Zuri so much and those feelings were reciprocated when they enthusiastically greeted me. Solo seemed unsure it was actually me and his reaction was that of shock and bewilderment but he soon thawed towards me and made funny squeaking noises which I hope was an expression of happiness. Zuri could not control herself and flew out of the house like a bullet from a gun and launched herself at me, almost knocking me over. It was a wonderful feeling to be home at long last, reunited with the Nomadic Family Unit.
Because I had returned from a country rife with Covid-19, I had to quarantine in the house with Mr Nomad and I was subject to temperature checks on a daily basis but once this was over, Mr Nomad and I rushed to see our friends that we had dearly missed throughout the duration of my absence. They had invited us to visit, to pick up where we had left off and to ingratiate ourselves back into bush life.
Upon our release from quarantine, the entire Nomadic Family Unit went to stay with our friends where they drove us out into the African bush and we were treated to sundowners in the savannah.
Trundling up onto the plains, we were greeted by zebras, waterbuck, impala, gazelle and two separate herds of elephants! It was such a privilege to have such a welcome back and a reminder that there was nowhere else I would rather be than with my husband, the dogs and our dear friends in the most amazing country.
Amongst the horses that I had missed, there was a new friend in the donkey shape of Doughnut, with Vincent Van Goat and Veronica the sheep still very much alive and kicking. There was a new surprise arrival in the form of a baby horse named Wasabi, a spirited foal whose mother Spicey was not that friendly towards us, hopefully just being protective of her baby. Pumpkin has also joined the premises. I can’t wait to get to know the new creatures and I look forward to more riding adventures in the bush.
I did venture out for a ride on board the ever patient Woody and my first ride back in the African bush was met with the elephants that we had all seen on the previous evening while watching the sun go down, and the magnificent giraffes which frequented the plains. These feelings of freedom are like no other and I almost felt overwhelmed with emotion.
Very few things had changed in Kenya as Covid-19 had not really taken hold as it had done in other countries so normality has been resumed almost immediately. As at todays’ date, Kenya has 29,334 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and the death tally stands at 465. Since the President eased some of the restrictions, such as freeing the lock downs of the cities, there has been a surge in the confirmed cases of Covid-19 and a marked increase in the deaths from the virus but the numbers are still nowhere near as dramatic as the UK and other countries around the globe.
The UK has 316,367 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with the death tally standing at 41,358. The UK has substantially eased all lock downs although following on from re-opening non-essential businesses such as pubs, there has been a spike in cases in some areas and those such places have re-imposed lock down.
The evacuation to the UK, being deposited in an unknown area in the height of the global pandemic now seems like a distant memory. Although there are still significant difficulties in many countries around the world, I am ever hopeful that my own personal nightmare is over. Even if it is not, I feel like being reunited with my soul mate means that we can conquer anything that comes our way. We are stronger together, as a unit. Now to resume our adventures.