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East Africa Dispatch Part 2.

Date: February 23, 2023 | By: Ashish Sanghrajka | Category: Travel Blog

Dear Advisor Partners,

February 14, 2023, is a day I won’t soon forget, and it really has nothing to do with Cupid (don’t tell my wife I said that). It was 8:00 AM in Nairobi, and I was getting ready to head to the lobby at my favorite hotel, Hemingway’s, when my colleague, Irene, from our Kenya team,  called me and said, “come quick, someone is here to see you.” I ran, thinking it was an emergency meeting or maybe someone important. When I arrived in the lobby, I looked around and heard a soft voice that I remembered very fondly saying, “Ashish!” I quickly turned around and said, “Sammy”? You see, Sammy is a tour guide for a different company and was at the hotel to meet his guests when Irene saw and told him I was in Nairobi. What were the odds?  With five million residents in Kenya and at this exact moment we were in the same place. Lighting in a bottle doesn’t even begin to describe the moment.


Sammy and I were kids together in Kenya., Sammy, my senior by a few years. His family has been intertwined with mine since my father was 3 years old, so we are talking about a 70 plus year relationship. Well, Sammy cut his teeth in tourism working after school at the Kenya Big Five office and made a career for himself. Well, I hadn’t seen Sammy since I was 12, and if I recall, I am 45 now. His face had not changed, I knew who it was immediately. I don’t think I have ever hugged another person as tight as I hugged Sammy because we both knew right away that it was a miracle that we even found each other again. So, there we were in Hemmingway’s lobby, tears, his clients waiting and wondering who I was, and my party wondering who Sammy was. Now I am a firm believer in things happening for a reason, and I don’t know how our paths aligned, but the last thing I said to Sammy before leaving Nairobi was – please, let’s not wait 30 years to talk again.


If that isn’t crazy enough, my day still wasn’t done. Fast forward 3 hours after flying to the Rift Valley to a private Maasai conservancy in the southern part of the country. Our chartered Cessna 206 lands on a dirt airstrip deep in the valley. A long Land Cruiser awaits us with a Maasai guide named Amos. I swear I had seen Amos before because that Déjà vu feeling was in full force. My “Spidey sense” was off the charts. As we drove towards our hidden retreat, Lentorre Lodge, I asked Amos if we had met before. By this point, the travel advisors on safari with me are asking, is there anyone you don’t know? Amos starts recounting his safari journey from Basecamp Explorer back in 2010 and I say, “Amos, were you at Koiyaki Guide School in the Mara?” He nods his head, possibly wondering where this conversation is going. Do you remember two Canadian volunteers teaching music there? Amos nods and turns around, now realizing where the conversation is going. Do you remember Big John, a 15 year old Maasai who towered over everyone including my 6 ft. 3 in. frame?  He nods again, now fully engaged. Do you remember a swarm of African bees in the back of the school and this one visitor who walked through that swam unaware of his surroundings? Now laughing, Amos says “was that you”? Well… and I still don’t have any sense of my surroundings all these years and that was the day I was stung by the famous African Killer Bees multiple times on my left arm. Amos now with a good laugh going, remembered who I was and me him. He said you were squeezing your stings which is completely wrong!  I agreed and reminded him that I got more worried about the stings when he started hitting the wounds and looking for a sharp object to skin my arm to get the stingers, I had foolishly pushed further back in and out.


If you ever asked yourself what would happen if you were injured in a remote area far from hospitals and cities, well, I answered that question for myself that day. I looked at Amos, and as I said to Sammy that morning, February 14, 2023,  is a day I will never forget. A one-chance meeting is incredible. However, two in a span of a few hours on the same day just seems like divine intervention.

CLICK HERE and Enjoy Part II of our East Africa Dispatch video

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