Honestly, each day really is very, very different. When I arrived at Olepangi Farm there was quite a bit to get used to – the culture, the Kenyan way of life, the farm timetable and of course the guests who arrived from all over the world. The farm is off grid and built to blend into nature. Roofs made of reeds, wooden structures supported with clay walls.
It was best to focus for the day on finding out what time the guests want breakfast. I would then get up in time for this and make sure I was there. On my walk down from the Stable Cottage to the breakfast deck I say hello to the sycers (horse grooms) who are seeing to the horses in the stables behind the cottage and in the paddock. I would then often see gardeners Michael and Jackson (yes, that’s correct!) working on projects like clearing a patch for the farm tortoise that had escaped the farm and was then brought back by Joyce who spotted him on her way to work one morning.
I would see many sunbirds flitting from branch to branch. And of course the naughty donkeys awaiting their next job pulling the cart, usually in their paddock, but sometimes not! An African hare is startled and then runs off down its burrow in the donkey field. I see Irene and Perris, the housekeeping staff on their way to the laundry and say ‘jambo’ (hello). And all of this before I even reach the breakast deck!
I eat a delicious breakfast prepared by the ever-charming head chef, Joseph. Then set to work attending to the guests who are leaving and guests who are doing some activities for the day. This might be a jeep safari trip, a horse ride, a community walk or even a massage from Joy. The rooms then need to be checked over for any new arrivals. All is in good order and I can relax or do some work for myself for an hour or two.
Next comes lunch – another colourful feast prepared by Maggie and Anne, the kitchen staff and brought straight from garden to table from Eunice. This is a relaxing time where guests can sit on The Party House deck or round the long table and enjoy the chatter amongst friends. Ensuring guests are comfortable and attended to is part of the Caretaker role – not a difficult one to carry out.
Lunch is always cleared away by the kitchen staff – my job is to check later that the place has been left clean and tidy and make any adjustments. I love the way Kenyan’s work – you think nothing is getting done, but you are then in for a BIG surprise to see it has been!
The afternoon can be spent on a Community Walk with Mr. Kariuki, relaxing to gather energy, working on a project of my own or maybe even a spot of horse riding. Then before you know it, it’s time to shower in the solar shower and get ready for the evening.
I don’t need to dress up too much, but it is nice to wear something casual and comfortable that is not ‘day wear’. Down to The Party House again to put the lights and soft music on, open the bar, and make sure there are bitings (pre-dinner nibbles) ready for offering guests Sundowners (literally cocktails at sundown). Dinner is served and the guests made to feel comfortable around the long table. Small groups of chatter fill the house and adventures exchanged. Then to sit by the fire in soft, comfortable, chairs and sofas is a dream end to many a wonderful day, with a glass of something well-deserved.
All guests have gone to bed and it is time to make sure everything is turned off and locked up before the 10 minute walk back to my accommodation. What might I see? They say there are leopards around, but I should be so lucky. Just a couple of horses needing to spend the night outside for health reasons. And so to bed……….