We made it to Nairobi...and what a big change from the last three weeks! Matt I think said it best...it was like taking country folk and throwing them into a city. After weeks of simple living, quiet mountains, shy people and fresh air, we came into the city with cars, traffic and all sorts of chaos. I will be the first to admit it was pretty overwhelming but we have tried to balance it by visiting some parks.
Thursday we stopped at Mt. Elgon national park where we drove around and saw all sorts of crazy monkeys and other animals. The most notable happening on this trip (safari, as they say in Africa) was that we went into a cave where elephants roam around and you can see the marks in the walls where they sharpen their tusks. Part of this adventure into the cave was the fact that the ceiling was covered with thousands of bats. Let's just say that it took every ounce of courage for me to go into the cave in the first place and it took me awhile to calm down once I was out. And I may have jumped behind Matt on numerous occasions.
(Side note...if you remember my first blog, there were a few things the CDC recommended we avoid and somehow we have managed to do most of them. I think we decided since the sisters have done them and survived that we should be ok too...I can sense all the work ladies and moms shaking their heads from here!)
Anyways, we went out to dinner with the Kitale group that night and then went to bed early because Friday was our trip to the game park! We traveled about 5 hours to get to Lake Nakuru Game park and had lots of fun hanging out with baboons, zebras, lions (who apparently just feasted on a cheetah), water buffalo and I even spotted a giraffe!
We headed back after a lovely dinner (remember that means lunch here) and made it to Chanzo (DoC house in Nairobi) for our last night together. Our Chepnyal group did one last reflection on our time here and Raelynne led us in some yoga since we basically sat in a car for two days straight.
Today, we had Mass at the seminary here and then headed to the Giraffe center and Elephant orphanage. Brace yourselves: I got kissed by a giraffe...twice!!! (side note: kissed means licked on the face with their super long tongues) They let you feed them for as long as you want so I was very happy. They also did a presentation and showed us some of their bones which was incredible. I almost couldn't pick up the femur it was so heavy.
The elephant orphanage was equally exciting for me because they rescue baby elephants who have lost their mamas from poachers or from disease and take care of them until they can get back to their herds. They brought them out to feed them and we got to pet some of them as they walked by. The littlest was only about a month old...adorable!
We also made a stop at a bead/pottery factory which was started to give single mothers an opportunity to make money and get health insurance. They gave us a tour of the facilities and it was a fantastic operation.
After some shopping we came back to eat supper (dinner) with the sisters and on to packing our bags.
As we are ready to depart, I am looking forward to seeing everyone back home but am very sad to leave this place. Kenya will be on my mind and heart forever. It doesn't help that everyone keeps asking when we will come back!!!
Things I am so very grateful for:
1) All the people that cared for us while we were here from the Daughters all the way to our drivers, Gabriel and Bernard
2) All of you at home who have kept us in prayer while we were gone. We prayed for you too!
3) For the people of Kenya who have taught me so much in such a short period of time. We will miss you dearly!