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The Diary
The Solidarity
A water tank in Moyale (Kenya)
The large 8000litre water tanks cost about 700-euro. They are transported from Nairobi and, considering the bad road conditions, transport costs are j...
The children's village – Sololo (Kenya)
OBBITU village is host to twenty orphans out of the hundred-fifty taken care of by C.C.M. The building has bedrooms, a kitchen, bathrooms and showers ...
Aeolian wells – Laisamis (Kenya)
In this region, the scarce water supplies are particularly precious. Every flush is recycled and channelled into an irrigation tube to water a small o...

Entering Kenya – 30 Oct 2008

At the border, we pay $50 for the Visas, which last three months. We also pay a further $40 for a tax on foreign cars. We have the Carnet stamped, it is still valid but it will expire in two days. We will have to renew it in Nairobi at the local ACI agency - AAK. From Rome, Mr Nesta, our Italian assistance, informs us that we could extend it for a further three months.
Do you need a taxi? ...Obviously, with pedals.

Kericho, the tea zone

The young green leaves shine and the trees are uniformly shaped. The paths that separate the thick bushes are well in order.
The tea plants give these hills the impression of a beautiful and ordered garden.

Some tracks have been abandoned and have deteriorated, on the maps they are usually marked in red.

Masai Mara. A day as photographers – 1 Nov 2008

We have had the great pleasure to meet Federico Veronesi, a professional photographer and guide.
He has lived in Nairobi for six years and during a month he can spend weeks in the park, “picture hunting” for animals.
His web site is www.federicoveronesi.com.
We spend a day with him, patiently waiting for the “magic moment”.
A young female leopard with her prey.
The crossing of zebra followed by crocodiles.
A family of Cheetahs.
These incredible moments that we manage to snapshot represent Federico’s gifts from our journey.


Bracing air, nice countryside, it reminds us of the scenery in Tuscany. The B-road we cover climbs to 2800m.

Nakuro Lake N.P. – 2 Nov 2008

Small, pretty and full of animals. The lake’s most outstanding characteristic is, it is home to millions of flamingos.

You need to be careful around the park, as there are many shady subjects.

We have already seen them in other parks, but only here have we seen them so close.

beauty and the beast….

Happy Birthday-journey! – 2 Nov 2008

Exactly a year ago, we left Nonantola (MO) heading off on this splendid adventure. We have crossed twenty-eight states. We have collected dozens of stories and reports. We have seen hundreds of people, situations, places and panoramas. We have left help and support to the tune of 7,000 Euro. We only have five states to cross, some of the most difficult ones, as we head back homewards.
Thank you very much for all your help and constant support.

Nairobi – 3 Nov 2008

We reach Nairobi after dark. We celebrate with 32 orphan girls our “anniversary journey”. The day after we go to the AAK office, the local ACI, to extend the Carnet De passage this expired a few days ago. A great help is the assistance of Dr. Nesta from the Italian office in Rome, we stay in touch via e-mail. We go to Schuhmacher (yes, that’s right!); a very nice person from Germany, who owns a very well equipped Land Rover garage, and carries out superb works on adventure vehicles. We ask his opinion on the oil leak which needs to be topped-up every 2000km, he advises us to continue to top-up until we get home.
Through the Italian Embassy, we find out about the safest places and decide not to apply for the Visas for Sudan until we get to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

AMREF, outstanding balance!

In December 2006, ELFOAVVENTURE, gave AMREF Association 8,000-Euro.
The funds were to finance two projects in Uganda and Kenya. The first, in Uganda, was the building of a well and the financing of a fish-breeding program. In Kenya, a project to build a water new water-tank and new school toilets.
Before we left for our journey, AMREF did not give us the exact details of where these projects were going to be carried out.
When we get to Uganda, we visit the lovely AMREF office to find out where we can see the well. The official was not available and we did not have enough time to ‘come back in a few days’. It seems that the logbook of donations made isn’t readily available.
In Nairobi, you can find the general districts for Africa.
We meet Rosina (from Kenya) and we ask her information on the protected areas in Kenya.
We just want to know where the projects have been carried out. Very politely, she takes our names, and promises us to send us an e-mail or to call us.
After three days, still we have no news.

Orphans of HIV

Luckily, they are all healthy!
There are thirty-two girls aged between of 5 and 13 years old at the “Maria Romero Children’s Home”. Sister Assunta takes care of them, as their mothers have all died of HIV.
We spend a few days with them and we leave an Elfo token before departure (details in solidarity)

Congratulations to Obama!

We are very happy with the choice of America
We hope that this is a turning point in US politics, one that promotes peace, dialogue and negotiation.
Here in Kenya, they are exuberant, happy, and full of celebration.
There is dancing, singing, street parties and gatherings for concerts in the squares.
The new President’s family origins, on the side of his father, come from a region to the west of Kenya from the tribe of the Luo. The people of the nation are proud and full of high hopes and expectations.
They proclaimed a day of national holiday with the all activities closed in order to celebrate this momentous occasion.

Problems with K7

From Nairobi towards the coast, the 500km long road doesn’t present many villages.
A strange noise from K7 at low speed makes me uneasy. A bearing on a joint on the transmission shaft is cracked. If we persist, we may break the joint all together. We disassemble the piece and carry on using two-wheel drive. We had changed the same one in Nigeria a few months ago. An oil leak on to the clutch pedal suggests that it is time to change the pump.
Fortunately, we carry a spare.

Mombasa – 10 Nov 2008

Even though this small city by the sea is often regarded as an unsafe and chaotic city, we find Mombasa very lively and full of Arab and European influences.
In the picture, the small but very interesting Jesus fortress, built by the Portuguese in 1593. The Architect who designed it was Italian, Gian Battista Cairato.
When the Portuguese first came to this land, they found the Arab populations of Oman and Persia. They exported ivory, gold and slaves to the Far East.
Recently placed monuments along the road are some tusks that advertise the national beer.
We also find the spare parts to repair the K7 transmission shaft.

Likoni - 11 nov 2008

A few minutes by ferry from the city, heading south towards Tanzania, you reach the small village of Likoni.
We visit an orphanage indicated to us by Enrica and Pino from Turin.
We donate an Elfo token towards food for the children (details in solidarity)

Watamu - 13 Nov 2008

An Italian colony.
In this small village by a crystalline sea with white beaches and long high and low tides, the Italians are many. Strolling among the market stalls you hear Swahili and Italian.
They are the modern settlers, who occupy the land with money and not weapons. They buy beautiful holiday homes at a reasonable price (not low) and give employment to hundreds of Africans, whose wellbeing and life style are above average.
Some people come here for a few weeks a year; others spend most of their time. We get the opportunity to live the life of a “colonist”, thanks to the generosity of a good friend from Modena. This “pause” is crucial for us to recharge our batteries before we face the difficult and dangerous territories that lie ahead. We also take advantage once again, to repair K7, whilst we also wait for some “supplies” from Italy (Alitalia permitting).

Gede Ruins - 14 Nov 2008

A city swallowed by time and the forest.
Probably a city-state much like any other, founded by Persian and Arab merchants around the year 1000. The reason for this city’s abandonment remains a mystery. Despite its grandness and riches, no documentation or manuscripts detailing its past have been found.


Very interesting and full of animals. It is definitely worth a visit. Among the species, there is a very large poisonous spitting cobra; an aggressive Egyptian cobra and some beautiful and enormous specimens of the Gabon Viper. It is here that poison is extracted and then sent to South African laboratories where antidotes are produced.

Malindi - 16 Nov 2008

Malindi, an antique Swahili city-state – a rival of Mombasa. It did not oppose the invasion of the Portuguese, but instead, chose collaboration. Today, apart from a beautiful sea, the city has little to offer in cultural attractions.
There is a pillar by the shore that is reminder of the arrival of Vasco De Gama. He was helped by local sailors to reach the Indies. A church with a thatched roof of the same period is also here; apparently, two members of his crew are buried here.
We change the pump on K7’s clutch, the rear differential oil, a general re-greasing and finally a good wash!


After much correspondence, we finally got to know the place where, a year ago, two lavatories and a water tank were built. The money for the project was donated by ELFOVVENTURE, and raised through the initiative called “all crazy for the well”.
We take a diversion of 270Km along the coast. Thanks to the help of local AMREF staff, who had kindly accompanied us for the last 15 km, we visit Jimba primary school. There are 751 boys and girls at this school.
We have great pleasure in showing the pictures of the project (lavatories and the tank) made possible by Elfoavventure and associates and everyone that was kind enough to contribute to the initiative.
Where the well has been built still remains to be seen along with some other projects in Uganda. We hope we will be able to clarify the matter with AMREF once back in Italy.
(Photos and details in solidarity).

We’re off… - 20 Nov 2008

We leave this idyllic yet for us, extraneous situation.
We leave behind our good friend Samuel and his beautiful comfortable home. He has also just become a granddad; meanwhile, we head off onto the rough road towards Nairobi.

We take a lovely road adorned with baobab that cuts through the Tsavo Park, saving us a good 100kilometres. The conditions now are good, the mud has dried up and the ground is hard.
As we get to the entrance of the park we are only allowed through if we pay the 85dollar toll. The same price for actually visiting the park.
Turning back towards Malindi would mean making our journey 300kilometres longer, so we make a daring choice to take a 100km shortcut towards the south along a road used only occasionally by the park wardens. We should reach the main road in a few hours.
At every crossroads we are unsure which road to take, there’s no-one to ask directions, so we always choose the bigger road or the one heading south.
Only once do we take a track that leads us into the middle of some woods, it takes us nearly an hour to turn back and take the right road.

Lepers of Lake Victoria

We meet the people responsible for the centre that takes care of people affected by leprosy; we give them a small Elfo donation (details in solidarity).

Oldonyiro – 21 Nov 2008

We leave the mysterious dilapidated road for Oldonyiro that heads north towards Nairobi. We travel 80km with very different scenery compared to where we were before; here it is more barren and arid. Two turtles of different types cross the road in front of us.

Grandpa Luigi

Luigi Panzeri has been taking care of about 200 children in this remote village for eleven years.
As well as orphans, they care for those with weak hearts, the seriously injured; here they can find help and comfort. Unfortunately for us, but very fortunate for the children, during this period he is Italy, where some of the children are having heart operations. His brilliant local assistants welcome us.
We leave an Elfo token (details in solidarity).

On the tracks of an elephant

Seeing that we don’t seem to be capable of doing anything the easy way, to get back to the main road, we head off the beaten track and explore another part of this wild uncontaminated savannah. Ahead, totally unaware, is an elephant.

Samburu People

This is the land of the Samburu people, similar to the Masai. Not as well known but more authentic, still strongly anchored to tradition. They are fascinated by mirrors, shy but curious, they can only speak their dialect. We meet them, colourfully dressed as they graze their animals by the road.

Archer’s Post – 22 Nov 2008

It’s like being on a western frontier; dust, sun and very little water.
Here, two laic missionaries are running a nursery school and a health and a centre for nutrition.
We leave an Elfo token (details in solidarity).
This child was bitten a week ago by a snake. Luckily for him it wasn’t poisonous; known as a “dry bite”.

Samburu Park – 23 Nov 2008

We visit one of the last parks on our journey; we get to see enclosed giraffes and this strange antelope.

We come across many groups of elephants playing along the river, some fight head to head.

Let's not forget the birds with their wonderful colours and birdcalls.

Community Umoja

A group of single women, who have been victims of abuse, have formed their own independent community. They live in a women only village, they run a campsite and they sell their handcrafted work.
Sometimes these activities have enraged some jealous men who have tried to stop them.
We happily go and visit with the intention of helping them.
But once we arrive in the village, the atmosphere is that of “attack the tourist”; the unbelievable requests for money, just for taking some photos and also the price of things, 20-times more than those in normal markets (1000 shillings instead of 50), we are thoroughly disheartened.
We buy a pearl bracelet and a necklace just to keep up our promise of support (spending 10 euro/pounds!) We leave feeling a little disappointed.

Laisamis and Enrico – 24 Nov 2008

It hadn’t rained for about a year and a half before the recent light showers.
We are guests of Enrico, spending a night in his courtyard. He’s been living here for some time now with his local family. He has done many things in his life to help this extremely poor area of Kenya.
The hospital for example, is run by some Italian nuns that we give a bagful of medicines that we’d taken with us for our journey; we hope we don’t need them anymore.
Some villages need plungers for the Aeolian wells.
We leave an Elfo token (details in solidarity).

Marsabit and our K7 – 25 Nov 2008

During these past few days, we have been travelling along rough roads that have been some of the worst we’ve come across in Africa.
Hard, winding and rocky, I can’t seem to find a comfortable speed to travel at. Every nut is shaken loose. Under the strain of the spare-wheel, the bonnet has once again broken. We put the wheel inside the car. Every evening, we tighten all the nuts and bolts and I also replace the rubber bushes to the steering that cost me an arm and a leg. I grease all the joints and we also add more oil to the transfer box (200ml after 4000km). I re-rivet some loose body work; nearly ten rivets a week jump off. Hang on in there, just two months left…

Sololo – 26 Nov 2008

Looking at this remote village on the map, so close to Ethiopia, you may ask yourself, why Doc. Pino Bollini decided to follow-on the local hospital built years ago by missionaries and run by C.C.M. (a medical ONG from Turin). The local population is of the Borana tribe that came from Ethiopia; the country totally ignores them.
Pino is also building a village for orphans, “Obbitu”, and we give him an Elfo token to help him finish (details in solidarity).

I risked near death when I took the photo!
A huge Puff-adder, 1m 20cm long was just 10cm away from me, luckily for me, sleeping.
I was about to tread on her when I realized that she was there. She looked dead but when I prodded her with a stick she woke up and slithered away and hid in a bush nearby.
That was VERY close!

GSH Group – 27 Nov 2008

Francesco is a veteran when it comes to solidarity and Africa. With his wife and a group of friends they started the GSH - Group Sololo hospital, a small but very active association that works for the Sololo hospital, trying to make it better. Every year they come to do some work and lately they have installed the electrics and mains water. We would like to keep in touch with them so that we could start a very useful collaboration between them and ELFO.
We settle to meet in Italy.

Road towards Ethiopia

The roads are still very undulating.
Now that they’re dry the only real problem is comfort but, once it starts raining, the mud becomes a trap for the wheels making it impossible for us to pass. The road is in a terrible condition but along the roadside hundreds of people are laying optical fibre cables!
For a few hundred kilometres this track is renowned for its terrorists and bandits. It should only be crossed with in an armed convoy; however, over the last few months the situation seems to have cooled down. The various Italians and missionaries living around here confirm this; therefore we decide to cross without an armed escort even though at one roadblock the police offered us protection to our destination (at a price of course).

Moyale – 28 Nov 2008

The city on the border.
Or should I say, divided in two by the border with Ethiopia. We stay for the night in a combonian mission. We repair a tyre that probably won’t last for more than a day because of the weak glue. Here the arid conditions and the low water supplies are a big problem. There is no water underground and so the tanks for collecting rain water are the only solution.
We leave an Elfo token for a tank destined to help a family (details in solidarity).

The masked country – Our Impressions

Kenya wears a thick mask of efficiency, stability and progress. Those that come here on holiday go back home having only seen a small side of Kenya’s double face. The asphalted roads, the lovely parks, the luxurious lodges, the well supplied Nairobi supermarkets - even with Italian products. The police are polite; the beaches along the coast are safe, laced with shops and discos. Political stability and progress.
But behind the mask lies the real Kenya, like the vast underside of an iceberg, the side that never gets to feel the sun. The Kenya full of abandoned devastated roads; the only roads that are maintained are those on the tourist routes. The Kenya that is home to hundreds of families without sanitary assistance.
The corrupted Kenya that has made the money, that was supposed to be destined for irrigation systems and asphalt for the trans-African in Ethiopia, magically disappear, leaving behind everything in primitive conditions.
The many bellicose tribes are always at war with each other; in the west for political power, in the north for territory and the possession of animals, in the north east for the nearby Somalia that “brims” with weapons and bandits entering into the country. The many post election protests have made the news but not the hundreds of people massacred by machetes between the Kikuyo and Luo ethnic groups.
Nobody knows what happened to the missionaries kidnapped in Mandrea; they still haven’t been released yet.

In short, a very mixed country. A country filled with scenery, panoramas, people, parks, luxuries but also great misery.
From its peace along the coasts to the tension along its borders.

Signs, beer and curiosities