And the Long Walk Made a Difference

Whereas walking long distances was a pleasurable pastime, over the years, this form of exercising was increasingly becoming a thing of a distant past. Other than walking, biking over long distances, especially from my home village to Nakuru town, and back, about 20 kilometers one way, was a beloved hobby.

  But close to five years, both of these pastimes became irrelevant. Not that because I had adopted a sedentary lifestyle, but because I had one of those migraine attacks that made it impossible to religiously use the bike as often as possible, with exception of riding it within a safe radius of village streets, where, if I had that dizzy feeling bordering to a fainting spell, I would safely push the bike home.

  And in the five years of little exercises, I was surprised to see I had put on a bit of weight. It is not that I observed it, but the remarks of those who have been used to seeing my athletic figure, with some wondering what I had been eating of late, made me realize indeed my girth was expanding.

  I recall the prong of my belt would fit in a certain hole, but when I would struggle to fix the prong onto the desired position, and the belt began to tear away, I realized something was wrong.

  I rarely looks myself in the mirror, except at the barber shop or on rare occasions, but the morning the belt gave me a hectic time in fixing the prong to its usual hole, I decided to have a look of myself.

  I undressed to my birthday suit, and stood before a dressing mirror, and the sight that stared back at me nearly made me swear.

  Whereas in the past my stomach had been as flat as an ironing board, you would have been forgiven to think I had kwashiorkor. The stomach was simply distended.

  Whereas the navel was a bit of a rounded button, it was simply a micro-crater recessed deeply into the stomach.

  Whereas the neck was sinewy in the past, it was as thick as my thigh, and the high cheekbones on my face were enveloped in a layer of flesh!

  And true, the girth was in danger of being enveloped in layers of blubber. And that solved the riddle of why the trousers I was putting on in the past and fastened in place with a belt did not need any fastening. In fact, widening them to fit the expanding waistline was the way to go!

  Then I recalled the last time I stepped on weighing scales the final read was 58 kilos. But what was the current read?

  As I set out, I resolved to check on the weight as soon as I reached the town. And sure enough, my first stop was to a hustler earning a living managing a weighing scale. I stepped on it and figures played a dancing act before standing at 62.2 kilos.

  That meant I had added a total of 4.2 kilos. But where did the extra weight come from?

  That was an irrelevant question, but how to rid the extra weight was the question.

  Hit the gym? Oh, no! That would be a waste of money.

 Then I recalled the bicycle. Especially how it would make me sweat in every bodily pore whenever I used it.

  Then I recalled how climbing the hills in the backyard was also exerting such that the shirt would be plastered with sweat on my back. And the long walks that would make the toes ache and the knees nearly knock against each other in my exhausted state.

  And all these came at a zero cost, compared to a gym where a session lasting only 45 minutes would see one parting with Sh300 in an uptown building.

  Come the first weekend and I set off to the hill at a pace that made me sweat when I was still miles away to its foot. See the link.

But the change of the season with the coming of rain saw the trips becoming rare, and doing rounds of biking on clear evening and Sunday mornings becoming the new exercise regimen.

  However, it took a bit long, exactly three months, before bringing myself to accept the challenge of walking the long distance. And it was supposed to be a to and fro journey.

  The other week I set out. This time walking towards Nyandarua County through Dundori township from parts of Nakuru County.

  The going proved physically enduring than I had anticipated. When you take the hilly incline as one goes to central highlands, you’ll understand why.

  The chilly weather made it hard for one to sweat, let alone end up with a parched throat.

  To say that the sceneries are breathtaking is not an understatement.

  It was surprising to realize there is indeed a copious forest despite the many trucks belonging to the Comply Company that can be seen heavily with logged timber.

   Of note are few indigenous trees competing for space with cypresses and eucalyptus with the latter serving the interests of the company contracted to manage the forest resources.

  And the drawback with eucalyptus trees is the drying up of many stream and riparian reserves – for corporate greed has seen the company putting its selfish interests against the general welfare of residents of surrounding villages. No wonder water is currently a scarce commodity and the little that trickles in the pipes is a mockery of a land of abundance in midst of lack! Whereas the streams were flowing all the year round, to even find a drop of water in aquatic kind of plants would be a miracle, unless it is when it rains and the soils absorbs them at a slow rate.

  Few monkeys had called the forest home. The irony of it is, despite the forest being a gazetted land, corrupt forest officials have let the farmers to farm it, especially in places where trees have been felled leaving swathes of open ground, with the monkeys making best of food crops whenever the crop is in due season. And the so called shamba-system where the peasants farm while taking care of the forest had proved more of a curse than a blessing such that, during heavy rain peaks, fertilizer rich soils leaches into the rivers and eventually into the dams with the end result being the dams are heavily silted with all manners of weeds heavily choking them.

Resting at Dundori cemetery, and looking at the surrounding areas, it is unmistakable the land from here is all evergreen. The elevation means a cold weather observing all the year round. But what is chilling is seeing graves in places sinking, like the dead are chilling cold six feet under, and are digging their way out to have a glimpse of the cold sunshine.

  The return journey was more of a down climb, but with aching feet, it was not cakewalk either. In my dead reckoning, I had done a total of 30 kilometers.

  Two days later, and after so long, and when the belt prong had returned to its usual hole, it was time to step on the scales again.

  59 kilos!

  Not too bad in three months.



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