A Matter of Kindness

I was on a remote desert track in northern Kenya. I’d just taken 4 gruelling hours to get there, on surfaces that varied between gravel and very loose sand – fun, and on a motorcycle, with a few white knuckle moments.

The heat of the day was full upon me and knowing that I should get out of the sun for a while I pulled over, and sat dozing in the thin shade of a thorn tree. After a short while, an old woman came walking up the track towards me. She was thin, dressed in rags and looked very tired. She asked if she could rest with me for a while.

This surprised me. It wasn’t the normal thing for a local woman to do when faced with a sweating, dust-covered, western man on a large motorcycle. We talked quietly, the dry heat on the slight breeze floating past us. She had taken four days to walk to this point. We’d both set off from the same town. After a while she stood up, gathered her battered cloak around her, and set off down the track.

Just paces away, she hesitated, and then turned to look at me. Reaching under her rags as she walked back towards me, she then held out two tiny hard-boiled eggs. “You will need much strength for a journey such as yours.” With that, she turned and carried on her way into the desert.

I asked myself, “Why is it that the biggest kindnesses so often come from those with the least?”

Out in the desert

Out in the desert

For more tales of this amazing continent – Into Africa

Into Africa is also available for download as an Audio Book.