Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Final Adventures in Kenya (Part 8)

This post will wrap up the travelogue of my adventures in Kenya last month. There is a lot to cover, so I probably won’t go into as much detail as normally (thank goodness, eh?). And it will be a picture-heavy post. Mostly I’m just picking up random things here and there throughout our trip, and therefore they aren’t meant to be chronological.

On our way driving to the Maasai Mara for our safari, we stopped at a Maasai manyatta village. The Maasai have historically been semi-nomadic as shepherds of their beef and goat herds. Many still live in the mud hut villages called manyattas. The villages are built in a square or rectangle around a center area. At night, the animals are returned from their daytime grazing to the center square for protection. There is usually additional fencing around the village. And in the winter or when predators are about, the animals may even be brought indoors. The houses are built by the women and are identical in floorplan. Each hut contains a room which can be used for the animals, if necessary. During the day, the children play outdoors and are watched by some of the women of the village. The families usually eat, play, work and tend to chores together. No doubt you’ve heard the expression, “It takes a village...."

Because the huts are relatively small, we were divided into two groups and given a tour of a home. Again, they are built identically. This is the kitchen area - with custom cabinets! There is a little window above the cooking area, which you can see in the photo below.

There is even an electric light (solar-generated), although it is not bright.

This is the parental sleeping area.

They had an area set up in the back of the village where they sold trinkets, and of course most of us took advantage, buying jewelry, masks, scarves and the like. It’s one of the ways they support themselves.

And naturally, they performed and jumped for us. But our host OD had to get into the act, too, and show off his jumping skills!

As we left and said our goodbyes, the animals were coming home for the evening.

On another day, prior to the safari, we made another trip up the rutted road into the Mau Forest again. Our aim was to visit a girls school and do a Days for Girls program. The problem is that it had been raining, and the rutted road up the mountain was now rutted and muddy.

So, we decided that we could hike the last quarter mile up the road and let one of the vans go with supplies only, lightening the load.  Up the road we hiked.

The next picture I thought was rather funny; a local couple taking a picture of us. Naturally, I had to take a picture of them, too. This is a good shot to show you the condition of the road.

And then one of our ladies tripped and fell in the mud. She was not hurt, but we decided not to continue on. We returned to the vans and sent a message up to the school. So instead, the girls came down the road TO US!

We passed out composition books, pencils, stickers, and toy cars for either them or their siblings. Here is my friend Mary Ann with some of the students.

Our friends Janet and Ann from the Days for Girls organization (see post HERE) were on hand, so they were able to walk up to the school later and conduct the menstrual training for the girls.

Here is a video of the girls just before we left. They didn’t understand the word “smile” so you can hear some Maasai talk, with someone (OD?) telling them to show their teeth. I hear me saying ashe oleng, which means thank you in Maasai.

On our last day in Kenya, we were back in Nairobi before catching our near-midnight flight. We visited the giraffe sanctuary. Here were my highlights.

We learned how to feed the food pellets to the giraffes by holding them in our mouths with the pellet sticking out, like a cigarette. The giraffes very deftly came up and grabbed it with their tongue. Here is DGD Lauren feeding one of the little giraffes.

I tried it too, and it wasn’t gross or anything. Just a warm nuzzling feeling with their breath on your mouth area. Some people do it on their own tongues, but we didn’t go there!!

I was just mesmerized at how beautiful these creatures are! Look at those spots and the long, soft eyelashes!

Here’s the cute sign on the gift shop.

And finally, we had a 5:00pm appointment at the Sheldrick Wildlife Sanctuary to go visit our adopted elephants from the previous week.  Since this is open for adoptive parents only (not the general public), it wasn’t very crowded. We got to see our elephants in their own pens and visit with them as they were getting ready for bedtime.

We (Bruce and I) adopted Sagala, a female, for one set of grandchildren.

And we adopted Ambo (short for Amboseli) for our grandkids in Colorado. Amba is a sleepy boy.

Isn’t this sign in the entryway cool??? Can you see that it’s an elephant?

And that just about wraps it up! Thanks so much for reading and commenting on the previous posts! I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures and stories.

The following are just a few random pictures from our trip - in no particular order.

Taken out the van window. Vendors selling roast maize (corn). We bought and sampled them - yum!  No GMOs!!

Mary and Mary Ann in the Mau Forest, showing off their Maasai toothpicks and toothbrushes!

And we can’t forget one of our favorite beverages...... (the most popular, however, was Stoney’s Ginger Beer, nonalcoholic).

The last little bag of the toy cars. Toward the end, we were just stopping whenever we saw kids and passing them out!!

The Benes Family (Lonny, Mary, Becky and Hannah) - the movers and shakers behind all the Days for Girls work we did. It was Mary’s Girl Scout Gold Project. I understand that when she gave the presentation once back home in Texas (complete with media program), she got a standing ovation. Well deserved!

We though this sign at the Nairobi airport was cool...

Dear Jonathan is a friend of OD and Marilyn’s and was with us every step of the way. He was also a great shoulder to lean on at times. We all love him! Jonah (which is how the Kenyans shorten Jonathan) also acts as the nanny (or “man-ny” as Marilyn says) for their kids, and he was amazing. He’s single and a real catch, let me tell you!

Here’s Jonathan with a goat. His family are goat herders.

And the final pic (because this is the order they loaded in) is of women and children doing laundry, on the rocks at the river, on the way up to the Mau area on our first visit. 

If you’re interested, here are the links to all my other Kenya travelogue posts:

Part 1 - Elephant Orphanage and The Escarpment
Part 2 - Tenkes Elementary and the Mau Forest
Part 3 -  Days for Girls and Lunch in a Mud Hut
Part 4 - Maasai Warriors and Around Narok City
Part 5 - Cute Kids and Fantastic Foliage
Part 6 - On Safari, Day One
Part 7 - Kenya Safari, Day Two


  1. Such an amazing experience, Cathy! Thanks for sharing it with all of us. The giraffes - loved that! And the elephants that you adopted for the grandkids - won't they love that? I loved what you did for the school kids and the Days for Girls programs, too. How neat that it was a Girl Scout project! This must have been life-changing for you and everyone involved.

  2. I loved that little video of the children smiling and laughing--they are so beautiful and charming...great that you could give them their new treasures...
    the giraffes are gorgeous--those soft colors just amazing. all in all a fabulous adventure for you. thank you so much for sharing it with us--i thoroughly enjoyed your posts...hugs, Julierose

  3. I read it. I released a long breath at the end and reflected on the post, reviewing the pictures. You gave me a lot to think about in this entire tale of your trip. It's something I have found myself thinking about at odd times. I have also recounted your visit with Terry as we sit by the pond. Thank you so much for so vividly sharing your experiences.
    xx, Carol

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful trip with us! You wrote about things that are so meaningful...the kindness of Jonah, the excitement of the children, the real homes of the people. And a giraffe kiss, so amazing! I'm humbled that you chose to take this long (and expensive, I'm sure) trip primarily to help other people, Cathy :)

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful adventure with us. I feel as if I know Africa now. The smiles and laughter of the children were the sweetest part of the pics for me,and I know you must have felt that way.

  6. What a trip of a lifetime. And what a gift to your granddaughter to have such an experience at her age. I'm sure it will impact and influence her for the rest of her life. Amazing to see all those animals in their natural habitat. And what a reminder to the rest of us that we are fortunate to live in America. Thanks for taking us on your tour.

  7. This is a test comment. Blogger has stopped sending them to me again and I’ve reset everything. If I haven’t responded to your comments to posts since last weekend, that’s why. So sorry!

  8. Wonderful photo's of a country I love. There used to be a giraffe there called Daisy years ago and when you fed the young ones and not her she'd race on over and try and wack them ( and you !) out of the way to get the food! ha!!
    OD can jump pretty high!!

  9. I, for one, am so sorry that your travel posts have reached the end. They have all been fascinating and a joy to read (and see the pictures). I enjoyed seeing the novel way of feeding the giraffes because it reminded me of the time when our kids were small (youngest was probably about 3) and we took them to the African Lion Safari theme park. We drove the car through the park and in the area where the giraffes were we were allowed to leave the windows open. Shawn was eating an apple and imagine his consternation when suddenly an excessively long giraffe tongue came through the window, neatly snagging his apple. All we heard from the backseat was a cry of 'he stole my apple!!!!!'. It's become one of those phrases that have stood the test of time in our family.


I appreciate your visit to my blog and love your comments!