Have you ever spent the whole day in bed doing the absolute bare minimum (while your mum is probably shouting at you saying that you won't sleep at night)... but sure enough when night comes, you still find yourself exhausted from a long and tiring day?
If you've had a day like this, its likely that you've also had a day like this:
I'm talking about that day when you woke up at 5 in the morning, went for a 5km run, attended 4 meetings, got chased by a dog around your compound, and ended the day climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, But weirdly enough, when you got home you were wide awake!
Well thats exactly how I started my Rhino Charge. As I lay in my tent on the first night, staring into the darkness while listening to the faint grumbles of someone snoring, my mind was running wild!
Let me start by taking you back 3 days before the event. Now not only was I in a different continent, I had an exam the next day, I still needed to pack (one bag for my stay in Nairobi, one bag for Rhino charge, and another for my 3 month holiday in Europe), I had to put my entire room in storage (god know how I ended up with so much stuff after only living in the UK for 1 year), organise my trip up to the airport, and on top of all this I was still trying to put some time aside for my friends. Those last few days drained me, as my body was being pumped by red-bull and stress.
Safe to say, I did it.
With 2 big bags (both over weight) and 3 hand luggage's I was ready for my flight, finally.
I lugged my luggage with the help of a friend onto a bus, on a train, through the tube and to the airport.
By which the airline decided to stop me 3 times for being over weight, carrying a drone and having too many hand luggages.
As a result, I had to phone my mum to ask to pay for extra space, whereby her only response was "GENNA JUST LISTEN TO ME, YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO CRY" (I guess I found out who to call if I ever get in trouble)
And to top it all off, when finally making it onto the flight, not only was I squashed in the central row, but I found myself sitting next to a man who's breath reaped of alcohol and who wouldn't stop talking the entire flight.
Once again however, I'm proud to say... I survived.
Anyways, so after one of the longest 9 hours flights of my life I got to Nairobi whereby Lawson, a taxi family driver was waiting and ready to race me to a connecting bus going from Nairobi up North (where Rhino Charge was this year).
I felt like I was in Formula Two as we swept along Thika highway trying to catch this bus which we finally found 45 minutes out of Nairobi.
After waving Lawson bye and meeting my new driver, I got on the bus, found a space by the window, let out an imaginary *sighhh* and passed out. Finally, I was almost there! 8 more hours on a bus and I would be reunited with my dad in the bush, ready to take on the Rhino Charge.
Not long after my eyes slid shut, was I awakened by sudden screams echoing through the bus. Now although it was around 10 in the morning, my bus had not failed to start pouring themselves cups full of alcohol, start a mini DJ booth at the back and start a game of "not-so-quiet poker" at the front.
Considering this was a Monday, I was sure most people had been to church the day before, so my initial reaction was to just sit by myself, looking out the window while laughing in my head.
As time passed however, people got more interested in me, as they questioned who this random stranger on the bus was that they picked up from Makuyu, (out of all places). With 'heavy' persuasion I found myself going from minding my own business in the corner, to gambling amongst strangers, as all my dads money slowly disappeared. (he still has no idea about this by the way)
In the middle of nowhere, I had now found myself on a bus gambling, having only gotten off a flight hours before, having done an exam the day before, having put my entire room in storage the day before that, and having just travelled across continents. This is not what I was expecting.
After stopping for lunch, I let the nyama choma and ugali melt into my mouth as it filled my empty stomach. I felt alive again, but I can't guarantee I felt human. I had almost been travelling for 24 hours, and was trying not to think about having to travel back within 3 days time.
With a full belly, we all waddled back onto the bus, and drove our final 2 hours of the trip. The scenery was beautiful! It was at this moment that I remembered why I loved Kenya. Having come from England where everything was cold and flat and grim, I found myself in a paradise with tropical weather overlooking miles of savannah which were filled with beautiful rock formations.
As the bus turned off the main road and down a long bumpy path (which seemed to lead into nothingness), the sky suddenly broke like an egg into sunset. We were getting closer. And finally it was not long until a sea of people and car's and tents emerged in the distance. Of which adventures awaited me.
Finally, I had had arrived.
THE EVENT SUMMARY:
This year I was part of the one and only Team 18, (i.e.) the Bandu Bandits, (i.e.) the winner of Rhino Charge 2018. Although it was a tough one for the boys as they took on Marsabits toughest terrain, survived a roll, checking into 5 checkpoints and finally placed around 36th place out of 60 teams! (Yes I am not sure their exact place, shame on me, but anyways!) The Rhino Charge this year according everyone that I talked to was an absolute joke. If you took the roads, you were more likely to win than if you did the charge properly and went through the bush. To those of you that don't understand the Rhino Charge at all, this will be confusing to you, in simple terms: each car has to try go to as many check points as they can with the least distance. Its not about speed, its about strategy and offroading! Still confused and living in Nairobi? Well I recommend you spark up a conversation with anyone and ask if they know about it and I'm sure you will find someone!
Anyways, so because of this, the people who were doing the charge properly ( i.e. off-roading) ended up doing very few checkpoints because the terrain was just so difficult, whereas the cars that took the roads finished all the checkpoints . Thats why, many were calling this years Rhino Charge the "Upside Down Charge": The top ten teams should not have won for taking the roads, as the and bottom ten cars were penalised for doing the event properly! Although there were many complaints, as always everyone still had a great time just getting out of Nairobi for a weekend. After all, whats not to love about off-road driving, and getting to know randoms in the Kenyan bush?