No pain no gain had been ringing in my mind from the gym work out on Friday. I had just been invited by my two great friends to accompany them to the gym. So we had had a very intense lower body work out in a gym in Parklands and since Saturday was the day the Nairobi Challenge seekers event was taking place, I found it very difficult getting out of bed in the morning but I gathered enough strength to. I had a few errands to run and so I had to work with speed as time was running against me. After running a few errands, I passed through Tuskys Supermarket and grabbed myself a cold Redbull because I know how handy it comes in when doing strenuous physical activities.
I had been given the physical location and told that it was off Ngong Road. After further consultation, I was told that indeed it was in Kibera at a place called Ayani at the Scout’s Camp. Kibera is actually one of the largest slums in the world, the largest in Africa. Nothing to chest thump about. So I advised the Cab Driver to end the trip close to Ngong Hills hotel at a gas station that I can’t quite remember its name so that I could find my way using public means as I wasn’t sure how much further I had to go into Kibera and of course I didn’t want any surprises when it came to the total bill at the end of the trip.
So I asked one of the gas attendants how to get to Kibera and luckily enough I was less than a minute to the road that leads to Kibera. I got into the bus and asked the conductor if he knew where Ayani was. After consulting with the driver he told me that he would drop me right there. I had been to Kibera once before in 2011 when I had gone to collect my National ID. What you notice as you continue treading into Kibera is that the place is like a country of its own, has its own way of life and to some extent the faces of the people you see show that they have sort of adapted to life there and come to complete terms with their situation. So the bus dropped me off at the last stop that was Ayani and even advised me to walk to my destination which he advised was a “3 minute walk” from the place. Being my first time in a new territory and knowing very well that the locals would clearly identify that I was new to the area, I decided not to put myself at risk and instead took a motorbike to the scouts camp. I got in and joined the rest of the Nairobi Challenge Seekers.
I was given a warm welcome and immediately invited by the Yellow Team to join them. The team leaders consulted each other and due to the seemingly stronger appearance of the Yellow Team, I was asked to join the Green Team of which I did. Just before being asked to do the activities that I had missed, two other challenge seekers joined and they were also allocated into teams before doing the activities that we had missed.
Challenge # 1
So the first challenge was going through a tunnel quest. A first I had very many questions such as if I could fit in and also what some of the obstacles were that lay inside it. But I was so much more motivated to do so when one of my team members went ahead of me and got out of it in nearly less than a minute. So I was next and you can only imagine how I struggled at first to get in as most of my body was aching due to the intense work out that I had been through the previous day. I remember being cheered on as soon as my head got into the tunnel. I must have taken longer than usual as I could hear people asking after a while, “Where has he disappeared to”. I eventually showed my head and my team members including members of the opposite team congratulated me for completing the first challenge.
Challenge # 2
The next challenge was known as the monkey climb where you’d have to get from one end of a suspended log and make it to the end. There was no specific method to use – but it all depended on you to figure out how you’d make it to the other side. I remember the first challenge seeker on my team standing on top of the log and trying to walk to the end but quickly retreating as soon as he figured out that he is not as skilled as a monkey to make it to the other end using his legs alone. So he quickly jumped down and hang upside down making it to the other end. I followed suit and I must say that it was pretty simple despite the fact that my whole body was aching.
Challenge # 3
We made it to a wall and this one was another challenge that I enjoyed as it mostly involved using the strength of my forearms and biceps to lift myself up but all of this was done with the help of my team mates who lifted me up until I got to a point where I could reach the top and then pull myself to the top of the wall. I did it with ease as I consider myself to have an upper body capable of lifting the rest of my body out of any tough situation.
Challenge # 4
String Maze Challenge
This challenge seemed to be the easiest but actually turned out to be the hardest. There were different strings that formed mazes and the challenge was to get into the maze and out of it without any part of your body touching the strings. I was amazed by the creativity that people have to say the least.
We broke off for lunch which was a simple but scrumptious meal of burgers and sandwiches and a choice of your soft drink. It was an interesting moment as we watched primary school scouts camping and cooking lunch with the help of their guides and/or teachers. It reminded me of my primary school days despite the fact that I was not a scout.
Challenge # 5
Surprise surprise! This was more like the dessert that we had not had over lunch hour. Walking towards the next challenge, we found one of the coordinators fetching water and pouring it on dry soil. So you know what that turned into. MUD! So apparently one would have to get on the ground and make their way to the other end while someone followed closely behind holding onto their shoes. I was lucky to have excused myself early enough as the aches from the gym workout the previous day had resurfaced and this time I had no option but to relax my muscles. I did not mind actually for the reasons that I would not get dirty and I had the opportunity of watching the rest and timing the two teams. I remember at the end of the challenge one of the ladies’ echoing these words, ‘I love dirty men!’
Challenge # 6
This was a rather easy challenge in my opinion. All the teams had to do was get the tyre to the top of the pole without it touching either of the sides. The team that did it in the quickest time without it touching either of the sides of the poles would be crowned winner of this challenge. The only hard part came in when the pole was increased in length and the teams had to devise a smarter way of getting the tyre to the top of the pole.
Challenge # 7
Tyre Maze Challenge
This challenge was similar to the string maze challenge in many ways only that the teams had to get all of their mates into the tyres and out in the quickest time. The team that could accomplish that in the fastest time again won the challenge. Luckily enough, it was not an offence to touch either sides of the tyres unlike the string maze challenge.
Challenge # 8
Water Bottle Balance On A Plate
One of the most challenging of them all was this challenge coupled with some ruthless tactics to make sure that the opponents bottle of water was always falling to the ground and forcing them to start all over again giving them a rather unfair competitive advantage. The idea was to balance a bottle of water on a paper cup whilst holding it together using ropes being held around the paper cup. The starting point was one end of the field to the other, going round a chair and then making it to the starting point without dropping the bottle.
Challenge # 9
This was the rib cracker of the day, I remember at the end of the challenge both teams including the team that had lost just losing it for a moment and savoring the moment of nothing but sheer laughter and happiness as one of the team members had given up half way through the challenge. But the funny part was not him giving up but rather his facial expressions right before he had given up. Since I was not participating, I remember being somewhat sympathetic while trying to hold in my laughter. At some point even thinking that I should call the ambulance just in case one of our soldiers started shouting mayday. But the laughter all started with one guy and then it became so infectious and spread like bush-fire. In no time, everyone including his team mates and he himself was laughing uncontrollably. I remember almost falling out of my sit severally.
Challenge # 10
Tug Of War
It’s not quite a challenge without determining who has the strongest muscles and this was quite evident in the tug of war challenge when one of the teams won all the tug of war challenges. I was on the losing team but in my defense, the ‘winning’ team had much heavier men than we did.
That marked the end of a day well spent with the Nairobi Challenge seekers. The winning team was the Green Team with 650 points & the runners up was the Yellow Team with 330 points. There are no losers when it comes to the Nairobi Challenge seekers, everyone is a winner.