#CityParkMemories with The Ng’wenos.

Cape Chestnut (Calodendrum capense) at City Park, Nairobi. [Photo: Bettina Ng'weno]

After meticulous planning for the first Park visit under the theme #CityParkMemories, Saturday 28th November turned out to be a true test of character for the Friends of City Park. The weather was anything but friendly; cold, windy and no sight of sunshine. We had planned to start at 0900hrs, we were to walk to the maze then make our way back up to the fish ponds. By 0840hrs we postponed the walk to 1000hrs to give time, hopefully, for the rain to stop, but that was not to be.

However, with the rain still pouring and winds still blowing at 1000hrs Friends made their way to the Coca Cola Kiosk, the FoCP’s usual meeting point. We sought shelter from the weather at the fish pond, with the gazebo there giving us brief shelter. But the rain intensified and pushed us to move to the Band Stand.

Fish Pond Area at City Park on a Rainy Saturday Morning. Nov 2020. [Photo: Bettina Ng’weno]

This visit was no doubt a special one, as with us was Fleur Ng’weno, one of FoCP’s Founding Members and Legendary Birder. After spotting a few wet birds taking shelter on tree tops and in branches, with nothing else to do Fleur begun to share some of her #CityParkMemories.

Fleur Ng’weno wearing the red jacket, surrounded by Friends in attendance, Nov 2020. [Photo: Bettina Ng’weno]

She recalls afternoons back in the 70s when she would organize pupils of the Hospital Hill Primary School, Nature Club to go to the Park from 1 to 3 pm. The pupils were given different tasks that involved identifying and collecting different living organisms. “We only had one rule,” says Fleur, “Nobody fall in the river! But someone would always fall in the water. Back then the river was clean, right now I don’t think anyone would find it funny to fall in the river.”

A Flooded Kibagare River, Nov 2020. [Photo: Bettina Ng’weno]

The rain subsided and we decided to walk around as Friends continued to share different experiences. Among people present were Bettina Ng’weno and Amolo Ng’weno, Fleur Ng’weno’s daughters. They too happily remembered the memories when their mother would take them to the Park and they would actually play in the Kibagare River. Bettina recalls how in 2013 it was challenging but fulfilling for her to be the founding organizer of the Treasure Hunt at the Park with two primary schools from the area.

City Primary Participants with Bettina Ng’weno, 2013. [Photo: FoCP]

“The children were excited and full of energy running from one part of the Park to the other looking for the different clues and completing tasks, the adults could barely keep up with them,” remembers Bettina, “we had reached out to 6 primary schools but on the day only two schools showed up. This was probably a good thing because by the end of the day all the adults were winded.”

Premier Academy Participants with Friends, 2013. [Photo: FoCP]

As the skies began to open up, we saw the Park come to life. The Sykes monkeys began to swing through the trees and birds began to sing. We were then treated to beautiful view of Globetrotter Dragonfly (Pantala flavescens), they danced over the green lawn located between the Band Stand and the Fish pond. A Fun Fact: a natural pest controller, an adult dragonfly is capable of feeding on over 1,000 mosquitoes a day.

Globetrotter Dragonfly from the biodiversity survey done at City park. [Photo: Dino J. Martins]

by: Karimi Kimathi

13 Responses to “#CityParkMemories with The Ng’wenos.”

  1. Dr Baldip Khan11/12/2020 at 10:52 am #

    Thanks for the memories and reminding me how varied are the riches of City Park. For me seeing the Ng’wenos, remembering how much fun we had at the treasure hunt and seeing the beautiful Globetrotter are all special.

    • Friends22/12/2020 at 8:24 am #

      We truly appreciate your feedback, Dr. Baldip Khan, exploring #CityParkMemories was a wonderful experience, we hope to explore more.

  2. Viki09/12/2020 at 5:35 pm #

    Great work guys!

    • Friends22/12/2020 at 8:26 am #

      Thank you very much for the feedback and for being an avid reader of our blog posts.

  3. Archna Bulsara08/12/2020 at 9:42 pm #

    Always have had great memories in this park and if my father were alive, it would have been my chance to take him there as he did to me in the past. All children should find time to also take their aging parents to go and see the park again!

    • Friends22/12/2020 at 8:30 am #

      Thank you for sharing, Archna. Nature provides countless opportunities for discovery, creativity, problem-solving, and building team spirit. We hope to one day get your #CityParkMemories story to share with other readers.

  4. Catherine I08/12/2020 at 5:21 pm #

    Great memories of City Park, I remember visiting the park as a child going to the maze with my family, it was always such an adventure and so much fun! its great to know that the park is remains open for all to enjoy.

    • Friends22/12/2020 at 8:41 am #

      We really appreciate you for sharing your memory, Catherine I. We hope for a future blog you will be able to share more about your experience as a child playing at the maze, with our readers, #CityParkMemories.

  5. Catherine Gatheru08/12/2020 at 5:03 pm #

    Indelible memories should be treasured and shared. What a great post. CP is a gem worth guarding jealously and fiercely!

    • Friends22/12/2020 at 8:49 am #

      Very True, Catherine Gatheru, children nowadays are experiencing a Nature deficit disorder as a result of children spending significantly more time indoors than outside.
      We will continue working to ensure City Park exists for future generations to also experience.

  6. Brenda08/12/2020 at 4:51 pm #

    All Children of Nairobi Should Experience City Park atleast once, of not every weekend. #CityPatkMemories #Touched.

  7. Ben K08/12/2020 at 12:30 pm #

    Wonderful to learn these memories from those that were fortunate to experience the Park at it’s prime! It’s a beautiful park and should remain so.

    • Friends22/12/2020 at 8:53 am #

      Indeed. We would also like to appreciate you for reading and sharing your feedback. The Friends of City Park hope to get more #CityParkMemories from the past and be present to share future memories.

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