Kaitlin Becker is a relative of the Rimpa family and was able to visit this summer in between completing her Master’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Central Missouri.
Some of my favorite memories growing up involve being surrounded by family. Crowded around a campfire, we would tell stories, make each other laugh, and stay up late looking at the stars. Despite all that, I haven’t really camped all that often. So imagine my excitement when during my stay at Rimpa, I was able to experience all of that and much more.
See, I’ve travelled internationally before and stayed at hostels. So I’ve experienced a form of this ‘strangers coming together and sharing experiences and bonding’ but camping on the Reserve? It was so much more. The flurry of frenzied activity – packing, setting up tents and chairs and gathering the pots and pans of the potluck meal, children running back and forth with childish giggles – all of this with wild zebra herds not more than 25 yards from us! Then of course there was a game drive in which all of us that could fit jumped into Kiptoo’s matatu rigged for safari drives and drove out farther on the Reserve and fell deeper in love with the nature that surrounded us. We didn’t see the giraffe family that night, but we did see many zebras and a few ostrich.
It is so amazing to me how welcoming friends and family of Rimpa are. Because you see, I didn’t know many people at the start of the day and yet, I was treated as if I was a long lost distant cousin to the family. I was told to eat more and asked after and turned away when I offered to help with dishes.
I had pleasant and in-depth intellectual debates on what makes art and life as I tried new foods and let the smell of campfire wrap around me (it’s my favorite smell!). There was a great sharing of cultures as friends of Rimpa have lived in England, Canada, France, and further still. And as the sun set in hues of pinks and oranges and the stars came out, I can remember trying to store the feeling away so that I would keep it with me forever. And finally, when the fire was too low and my eyes fell closed one too many times, I moved into my tent and snuggled under the covers and fell asleep to the distant sound of hyenas calling.
These are the memories I reach for when I’m having a not so great day. What are some of your favorite memories?