The Dangers of Slight Miscommunications

The last agenda for the trip was to see cool animals. Enough with people and shopping.

Now before I go further, I will say that except for a short layover in Nairobi, the capital city, all our time in Kenya has been in Kisumu. That is the town where Steven grew up and also the place where we lived for three months when I was thirteen.

It is on the shores of Lake Victoria which is a very big lake.

The Monday Morning Agenda was to go on a boat on lake Victoria and see hippos. After that we were going to take off for a game park, where we would spend a couple days before heading back to the airport.

Now, I have a confession to make: I am scared of hippos.

No those are not real giraffes in the background, but those ARE real hippo heads poking out of the water.

A few facts about hippos:

  1. They can snap a crocodile in half with one bite.
  2. They can swim 30 mph.
  3. They are the second biggest killers in Kenya. (The first is mosquitoes.)
  4. If a hippo got mad at us, we would be dead.

This is what our boat looked like. Cute. Also, easy for angry hippos to tip over.

Still. I was not going to let my fear of hippos ruin my trip.

First we saw a small group of hippos. That wasn’t too bad. But then, wonder of wonders, we saw a BIG group of hippos.

Those black dots are hippos. They kept ducking under the water. And then re-appearing. I was all ready for one of them to pop up under the boat and tip it over.

And then, the engine on the boat died.

No, I am NOT KIDDING. There we were, drifting towards the scariest animals on the planet, and the engine would not start. Our boat driver pulled and pulled and pulled the cord. It would not start.

Did I mention that we were drifting TOWARDS that HUGE group of HIPPOS???

Yes I was scared. Yes I was pretty certain that I might die. But I didn’t. Because the guy at the front of the boat grabbed a pole from the top and began, very slowly, taking us back.

When we were a safe distance from the hippos I mentioned how scared I had been. That was a bad idea. Jenny and Steven found it beyond hilarious to say “look there’s a hippo!” and try to scare me.


We got back an hour later than planned, packed up our stuff, and headed off on the bumpy Kenyan roads. We stopped and bought soda in glass bottles to drink on the way.

Here is where the slight miscommunication came in: Mom had told Dad that she had brought plastic cups along. She was planning to use the cups when we were at our little cabin in the game park. Instead, Dad thought they were for using on the road when we ate our lunch.

Therefore, he bought big huge bottles of pop instead of little individual soda bottles.

Let me just say that I was the one holding the cups while Dad tried to pour orange soda into them.

Also, the roads were VERY bad and we bounced all over the place.

So did the soda.

That evening we arrived at the game park and saw lots of animals before it got dark.

We stayed in a very cute cabin thing with animals outside our windows and cool stuff like that. There was one problem. We were informed by the lady who worked there that there was a big mouse problem.

I saw a mouse. I screamed.

The bedroom that the girls stayed in had one enormous bed and one normal sized bed. Jenny and I stayed in the big bed, and Amy got the normal bed.

In the middle of the night I heard a very annoyed Amy say, “go away and leave me alone!”

I asked if she was okay. She said, “Is there room in your bed for me to crawl in with you?”

Jenny and I scooted over and the three of us kept each other safe from the mice.

A mouse, by the way, had bit her finger. Or it could have been a rat. Because in the morning we found a dead rat on the floor, which Ben apparently stepped on and killed in the night without even realizing it.


Yes, I screamed when I saw that.

The pen in the picture is for size comparison.

Before you feel too sorry for me I will add that in the morning Mom and I sat on the huge bed and drank tea and watched zebras and monkeys and impalas and cape buffalo out of the bedroom window. That, in my humble opinion, is the ideal way  to observe Kenyan wildlife. It sure beats bouncing around in a van while dust gets up your nose and in your eyes.

Kenya is such an odd mix of classy and crude. I will never tire of being called a lady and drinking tea all the time and having someone help me put my life jacket on.

3 responses to “The Dangers of Slight Miscommunications

  1. Very nice post Em, and great pictures of wildlife.
    You faced a group of Hippos. This is frightening all right.
    But imagine, it could have a group of giant mice! 🙂
    Sorry, I go back into hiding


  2. That rat is absolutely disgusting! No wonder you screamed!


  3. This blog is much more interesting since I now know you and the places you have been…..touring Kenya is not for the feeble-hearted?!


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