This is the third of a series of poems depicting my earliest memories. The memory involves the Great Rift Valley which extends some 6,400 kilometres from the Middle East to central Mozambique in East Africa.
The Rift was formed about 20 million years ago when the earth's crust weakened and tore itself apart creating a jagged gash across the African continent. The land on either side erupted creating volcanic mountains, while the valley floor gradually sank into a low flat plain.
There are about thirty lakes lies along the rift's length; these include Lake Tanganyika, the deepest lake in the world, and Lake Victoria, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world. At its widest the Rift is about 100 kilometres wide and this narrows to about 45 kilometres just North of Nairobi.
When we used to go on Safari, my parents would set off very early in the morning with my brother and I in wrapped in blankets. Our first stop would be somewhere along the rift valley sometime around dawn. I can remember the sheer scale of the cliff which descended from the road to the bottom of the rift, these walls vary between 600-900 meters high.
Nowadays there is a new road, but in those days the descent was extremely dramatic and as a toddler I was petrified of it. This poem sums up my memory of the Great Rift Valley, I hope you like it;
Early Memories - Kenya III
We’d stopped atop the Rift valley
early in the morning
looking into the abyss
just as the sun was dawning.
The valley floor was far below
to one as small as me
I didn’t like it very much
it made me want to pee.