A perfect day

Today could not have been more wonderful:

Swimming in the lake with the four boys from the resort. For an hour, nothing matters, neither space nor time. There was only the sensation of the cool water, and the shimmering droplets washing over the black silhouettes of my new friends, cardboard cut-outs on a sun-drenched sky.

I’m not like the other guests, they tell me. ‘Remember us, the four boys’, says Albert Western (from Western Province). Then there’s Thomas Mexico (because he’s decided to go to Mexico and find a girlfriend there – according to Thomas, Mexicans are the most beautiful women in the world). Dennis I’ll remember, because he’ll make an excellent swimmer – he’s just too scared he’ll drown right now. And Bran, always smiling and helping out.

The there’s Sophie. She’s more serious, but then I guess she needs to be to keep the lads in order. With a shy smile she asks for a selfie before I leave.

My driver for the journey back to Lodwar stops in his village to collect his wife (she’s registering voters for the upcoming election) and his tiny beautiful boy. We pass a large gathering of Turkana holding a sector meeting under the shade of a prominent Acacia tree. A child wears a tee-shirt with the slogan ‘D.A.R.E – Dare to Avoid Drugs and Violence’.

As the sun sets it throws long shadows over the short scrub. The sand from the few trucks enlivens the dead trees in its golden mist. The cloudless sky gradually turns the same colour.

There are no roads, only tyre tracks in the sand. My clothes are still wet from the alkaline lake.

I think of home for the first time. When the mobile signal returns, this timeless dreamy interlude from life will be shattered. The imminence of the long return journey will thrust its immediacy on my relaxed soul.

I find the dryness beautiful. The locals fear it will bring death. We see another gathering of villagers where NGOs and local government are distributing food. My driver tells me that camels are already dying.

A cloudless sky. So the rain came. So the rain was not enough. The blue remembered hills I saw in Rwanda are unlike this jagged brown-black outline on a turquoise-red sky. The sun is a slowly sinking blood orange.

For me at least, everything comes together in a matter of moments. I ask the driver to stop and I catch my ‘Constant Gardener’ moment, my photo of the barren beauty of the ochre sunset.

Feeling the damp clothes and tasting the lake water on my lips, watching the sun disappear behind the silent and barren landscape, I experience a kind of total bliss.

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