Scouting family takes pilgrimage to Baden-Powell’s grave in Kenya

Tracing the life of Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell takes you not only to his birthplace in London but also to Kenya, where he spent the last few years of his life.

My recent trip to London and Gilwell Park, provenance of the Wood Badge training course, inspired Idaho Scouter Steve Jung to share photos and stories from a similar Scouting pilgrimage.

And I’m sure glad he shared.

The Jung family traveled to Kenya, the East African nation where B-P died on Jan. 8, 1941, at age 83. His grave is now a national monument.

Steve, along with his wife, Becky, and daughter, Anna, visited B-P’s final resting place, the cemetery museum and his home in Nyeri, Kenya.

“Our trip to Kenya was a most memorable one,” Steve says. “We did some backcountry hiking and a lot of touring. We went caving and places most public  people don’t go or know about. Just a terrific trip.”

See Steve’s stories and photos after the jump.

A little background from Steve

As you know, Lord Robert Baden-Powell retired and moved in 1939 to a cottage he had commissioned in Nyeri, Kenya, near Mt. Kenya. He lived in a small one-room house he named Paxtu, which was located on the grounds of the Outspan Hotel. The Paxtu cottage was integrated into the Outspan Hotel buildings and serves as a small Scouting museum.

Baden-Powell is buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Nyeri. His gravestone bears a circle with a dot in the center “ʘ”, which is the trail sign for “Going Home,” or “I have gone home.” When his wife, Olave, died, her ashes were sent to Kenya and interred beside her husband.

Photos from Steve’s trip
Robert & Olave Baden-Powell's headstone.
Robert & Olave Baden-Powell’s headstone.
The walkway to the cemetery. The Scout Law is on the left and Girl Guide's Law on the right.
The walkway to the cemetery. The Scout Law is on the left and Girl Guide’s Law on the right.
Baden-Powell Scouts Information Centre in Nyeri. This building is to the left of the walkway at the cemtery. Houses a full-time staff managing a small worldwide museum. A small fee is charged.
Baden-Powell Scouts Information Centre in Nyeri. This building is to the left of the walkway at the cemtery. Houses a full-time staff managing a small worldwide museum. A small fee is charged.
My wife, Becky, and daughter, Anna, and I (Steve Jung) are Venturing Leaders. I'm also a Boy Scout leader. We wore our uniforms to be pictured in uniform with the headstone.
My wife, Becky, and daughter, Anna, and I (Steve Jung) are Venturing Leaders. I’m also a Boy Scout leader. We wore our uniforms to be pictured in uniform with the headstone.
At the gate to the cemetery is the Scout Promise.
At the gate to the cemetery is the Scout Promise.
In the museum are many bulletin boards with patches from around the world. I am shown placing an Ore-Ida Council council shoulder patch on the board with mostly patches from the United States.
In the museum are many bulletin boards with patches from around the world. I am shown placing an Ore-Ida Council council shoulder patch on the board with mostly patches from the United States.
Here I'm pointing out the Ore-Ida Council patch.
Here I’m pointing out the Ore-Ida Council patch.
Bust of Lord Baden-Powell.
Bust of Lord Baden-Powell.
The Outspan Hotel where the Baden-Powell home (Paxtu) is available to visit. It is free to those in uniform, and a small fee is charged to those not in uniform.
The Outspan Hotel where the Baden-Powell home (Paxtu) is available to visit. It is free to those in uniform, and a small fee is charged to those not in uniform.
The opening to Paxtu. I felt I was walking on sacred ground!
The opening to Paxtu. I felt I was walking on sacred ground!
A sign with some history of Paxtu.
A sign with some history of Paxtu.
Both Robert Baden-Powell and Olave Baden-Powell are equally recognized at the Paxtu.
Both Robert Baden-Powell and Olave Baden-Powell are equally recognized at the Paxtu.
I was expecting patches to be dominant in the home, but that was not the case. Neckerchiefs from troops from around the world have been placed on all the walls. Notice above the doorway are photographs of both Robert Baden-Powell and Olave Baden-Powell.
I was expecting patches to be dominant in the home, but that was not the case. Neckerchiefs from troops from around the world have been placed on all the walls. Notice above the doorway are photographs of both Robert Baden-Powell and Olave Baden-Powell.
Our daughter, Anna, was amazed by the visitors who visited the Paxtu. People from around the world! But, more from Europe by far than the United States.
Our daughter, Anna, was amazed by the visitors who visited the Paxtu. People from around the world! But, more from Europe by far than the United States.
Close-up of the pictures above the doorway.
Close-up of the pictures above the doorway.
Pictures of Robert and Olave on the fireplace wall. All were well documented as to places and dates.
Pictures of Robert and Olave on the fireplace wall. All were well documented as to places and dates.
B-P was quite an artist. His original drawings of his artwork were prominently displayed.
B-P was quite an artist. His original drawings of his artwork were prominently displayed.
The backyard of the Paxtu were beautiful grounds viewing Mt. Kenya. Near the steps was a bird bath in the shape of a fleur-de-lis.
The backyard of the Paxtu were beautiful grounds viewing Mt. Kenya. Near the steps was a bird bath in the shape of a fleur-de-lis.

 

Final thoughts from Steve

After visiting the Paxtu, be sure to visit and have dinner at the Outspan Hotel. Visitors worldwide are treated to an open-air dining atmosphere of native Kenyan foods. People from all nationalities and languages share a common bond there.

Kenya is a beautiful country open to tourism. The African safaris are amazing, the tea plantations, the hiking and backcountry hiking were most memorable.

We hiked Mount Longonot alongside a herd of giraffes. We visited the Masai people and had lunch of goat meat and cabbage in their home. We even went caving where baboons and bats dwell.

Kenya was a wonderful country to visit and gave us memories of a lifetime. No doubt, if you are a Scout or a Scouter, try to make Nyeri a place to visit.