The Overnighter to Mombasa
Pulling out of Nairobi night had already descended and so as the train skirted around the Nairobi National Park, we, the passengers, were oblivious to it as we supped on bottles of Tusker.
Woken at dawn to the sound of the coach-master ringing the breakfast bell, acacia trees and the occasional baobab tree floated past the window in the savannah of the Tsavo National Park, small huts occasionally dotting the horizon.
As we approached the Swahili coast, people started to appear by the sides of the tracks, waving at the train that passes through their lands every other day. Passengers were leaning out of the windows watching the landscape unfold. The waves then turned to up-turned hands, asking for money — ”twenty shillings” — or food, as the train slowly crept past villages. Children running alongside the carriages, chasing the train, or their hopes of a little subsistence.
Arriving into Mombasa, the humidity hits, as men were eager to ply their trade, pulling hand-drawn carts to discharge the train.