Thursday, February 21st was a very full day for us. A driver named Joseph took us many places around the city, while patiently and jovially answering all of my questions about weather, politics, infrastructure, his family, and general life in Kenya. First, Joseph took us to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: a haven for orphaned baby elephants and endangered black rhino. We watched for an hour as a total of 20 baby elephants were bottle-fed milk and then were allowed to play with the staff and each other, fetching sticks, kicking a soccer ball, and wrestling in the mud pools.
One staff member spoke about the care of the animals, the atrocities of how they have been orphaned (mostly due to poachers killing their mothers for their ivory tusks), and how they re-introduce them to the wild when they’re about 3 1/2 years old. The rhinos, both injured and therefore needing protection, were not there for us to see because they are allowed to roam the extensive property as they please. We loved the whole presentation and education – truly spectacular.
Next, we stopped at the Giraffe Center, established to protect the endangered Rothschild Giraffe. The center has introduced several pairs of these giraffes into Kenyan national parks. The most exciting part is that we got to feed a giraffe right from our hands — the video illustrates it best!
We had lunch at the Karen Blixen Gardens, named for the Danish author–also known under the pen name Isak Dinesen–who is best known for her book, Out of Africa, which is an account of her time living in Kenya. We declined to visit the museum because we wanted to visit the Kazuri Beads factory and shop. Kazuri, which means “small and beautiful” in Swahili, has a mission “to provide and sustain employment opportunities for disadvantaged members of Kenyan society”. Most of the employees are women, and Kazuri helps to ensure that they have affordable healthcare plans for their entire families. We were glad to support such a great cause by buying lots of beads because when we get home, Gail is going to make a bracelet for me!
Friday was a day to relax, and on Saturday we drove to the Rift Valley with Sam and David Orth-Moore to watch Jordan play in a basketball tournament. It was a lot of fun, especially because Jordan’s team did so well, made it to the finals (a very exciting game!) and even won the championship. Eddie had lots of fun taking pictures, as always 🙂
On Sunday we went with the family to church, then had relaxing afternoon, packing, resting, and playing “Rat a tat Cat” with Tessa. The game is a kid’s version of the card game “Golf” which we have loved playing with many friends. We also made ourselves at home in the Orth-Moore’s kitchen and cooked a big dinner to say thank you to the family for taking such good care of us! Tessa proved to be a master chef as she whipped together my sweet potato casserole, while Eddie worked on an herb-roasted turkey breast, and I made some fresh corn — with lots of butter 🙂 We are so grateful for our time in the Orth-Moore home — it’s been a great first week in Kenya!