Monthly Archives: February 2011

Kenya Part 3

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December 26

We got up early again and sadly left Mombasa to head back to Nakuru. It was hard to believe our time was up already! We made one stop to put water in the van, which took awhile since no one had a funnel! While we were waiting for that to get done, a few of us played Frisbee in the service station parking lot! I actually found out that I could throw a Frisbee still! We drove most of the day and arrived back in Nakuru around 6pm or so. That night, we had an amazing dinner of creamed vegetable soup, fresh bread, chicken, rice, vegetables, bread pudding, custard, and chocolate cake. We ate dinner with a fascinating Dutch couple, who were taking a trip across Africa for about 3-4 months! They were very nice and very entertaining!

December 27

We slept late this morning and then had a great breakfast there at Camp Kembu! It consisted of fresh bread, fresh fruit, and Spanish omelets with sausage! What a great breakfast! Once again, we ate with the Dutch couple and wished them farewell! They were so kind and funny!

Late that morning, we found a guide and took off for a mountain hike! It was great! We saw a dry waterfall canyon, which was really pretty! The mountain we hiked was fairly steep and Nathanael ended up caring my backpack and being a true gentleman! It also kept his shoulders from getting too sunburned! We got to see some amazing views from up on the mountain! One part was so steep that our guide hauled us ladies up by the hand. I thought he was just helping, not hauling me up so I accidentally bonked my knee on rocks! We visited people in the villages along the way as well. This one woman just kept smiling and laughing at one house and seemed to really enjoy meeting us! I felt like I saw God’s smile in her eyes! Later that day on the way back from hiking, I saw the sun shining through the clouds and once again felt God smiling at me!  God was reminding me of His love through the simple things.

That night we decided to find dinner in town, instead of at the campsite. We found a little restaurant called “Twitter”. Quite funny, when Twitter is an Internet social network in the US! The restaurant was so new that the chef had not yet cooked everything on the menu! He came out and talked with us personally, though. By the time we were done, most us were quite satisfied with our hamburgers and chips (French fries). We enjoyed watching football (soccer) on the TV at the restaurant as well. Most of had not watch much TV for a long time! We then went back to the campsite and proceeded to take much-needed showers. We were assured the water was hot, yet it was not! I think one person had a hot shower! It was about 50 or 60 degrees that night as well, which was really cold after what we are used to in Kampala! Let’s just say, I had the coldest shower I had ever had the night!

 

December 28

Once again, we awoke early to leave for another day on road! It was freezing when I woke up, but I knew I had to wash my face! I told Nathanael I was going to wash my face and he said, “Good luck!” It took that to mean that hopefully it helps your face look better, though I think he meant good luck because it was so cold! It made me laugh nonetheless and I gave him a good push!

We soon got in the van for our trip to Masaii Mara to go on safari! For about an hour and half we drove on an extremely rough road that was dirt and partly cut out of rock as well! It was the roughest part of our trip road-wise! I definitely learned that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep on that part of the trip. The countryside was beautiful through this part though! The land was a light a patchwork quilt of farmland!

We stopped to buy sodas and I bought a traditional Masaii blanket wrap (can’t remember the name now), but it is red, green, orange, and yellow and made from warm material! The warriors wear them like a toga of sorts!

Early that afternoon, we arrived at Masaii Mara and took our things to the campground! We stayed at campground right outside the park that was run and guarded by Masaii warriors! We ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and enjoyed relaxing for a while before we went on our evening game drive (safari). We drove up to the park and paid for our passes and then went on to look for animals with our Masaii guide telling our driver where to go. That evening we saw so many amazing animals! Some of the first animals we saw were giraffe, water buffalos, and elephants! Then we came up on the pride of lions! There weren’t any grown males visible, but we saw lots of young males and the head “mama” lion that the all the young males made sure to acknowledge! They young males were so beautiful and walked right past our vehicle! After that, we saw some wildebeests, guinea hens, impalas, more grumpy water buffaloes, a bush buck, warthogs, and finally, another pride of lions with the grown male lions this time! It was so cool to finally see an Aslan! He was beautiful! He was very docile due to having just eaten a big meal! We also saw some more giraffes, but it was too dark by then to get pictures of them!

That night we ate a good dinner at the campground! We had rice, cabbage, chicken, fruit, and tea. It all tasted very good! It was a beautiful night with lots of stars overhead, but we were too tired to enjoy them very much! We slept in tents that reminded me of the TV show MASH* that actually had bucket toilets and bag showers that were warm! It was great having a shower and toilet right in the tent and bed to sleep on for the night! We woke around 6am the next morning to go on our last game drive!

December 29

We got up and fixed coffee/tea and took off for our safari! It was cold morning and I was very thankful for my sweatshirt and even tied the hood tightly around my head to keep out the cool wind created by driving with the pop-up up on the van during the safari ride!

The first animals we saw were impalas or dik diks (both antelope-like animals). I got them confused easily! Then we saw some very fat zebras and more dik diks with them. I do believe that zebras must be related to donkeys with their body build and looks! Then we saw more elephants! The baby ones were soo cute! They reminded me of Babar! We also saw some antelope/deer-like animals that looked like their fur was patched together! Can’t remember the name! They are grey and brown in distinct patches! We then saw more wildebeests! We also saw some ostriches off in the distance! They were really neat! I had not even thought about seeing them!

After seeing the ostriches we reached the part of the park where Kenya met the Tanzanian border! We actually stood in Tanzania even though we technically weren’t visiting Tanzania! As if being in Tanzania wasn’t exciting enough, we came up on people watching something down in the river! The next thing we knew, we were being led by park ranger to watch hippos and crocodiles in the Mara River! What an incredible experience getting to see both hippos and crocodiles up close! Both animals are pretty dangerous!

After seeing these animals, we got to see some hyenas too! They are ugly and cute at the same time! Then we saw more elephants and zebras and more of those patched together antelope/deer animals and some more warthogs! Right at then end of our safari, we finally got some really great pictures of giraffes!

Then after fixing more PBJ sandwiches, we drove on to Kisumu where we planned to spend the night! We stopped at the Pentecostal church there and asked about accommodations. They sent us to a clean, very nice guesthouse called “Shalom Guesthouse”. We went out to for diner to a little French restaurant where I had beef with greens, which was pretty good! We then got a “tuk tuk” (a little car with three wheel, like a little cart hooked to a motorcycle) back to the guesthouse. It was bumpy experience and not nearly as fun as boda (motorcycle) here in Uganda! After returning to the hotel, we ordered tea and began playing games in the lobby. We played “Spoons,” which I was not very good at to start with! I then decided to be aggressive and actually beat Karli (our competitive PE teacher)! Once again, I went to bed late and we awoke early to head home!

December 30

We had a nice breakfast at the hotel and took off for Kampala! I think we were all a little sad to be going home, since we had such a nice time! We had a safe trip home with minimal time getting back across the border, though I had to get a new Ugandan visa because mine had expired during our trip!

Post Script: Overall, it was an amazing trip and my pictures are all on Facebook! Let me know if you can’t see them and I can send you a link! I will be happy to share pictures when I get home in June! It’s coming quickly!

 

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Kenya Part 2

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December 24th: Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve turned out to be an amazing adventure! We left our condo about 8am or so to take the ferry across to Denali Beach, which is a more posh touristy area of Mombasa. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were excited to head out for the day. We headed down the road to the ferry in our van with out hired driver, Abdul. We parked at hotel and headed out to the beach. It was a beautiful beach! We soon met this funny Rastafarian Kenyan named Friday, who offered to guide us on a reef walk. We took him up on his offer and walked out barefoot to explore the reef. We saw so many amazing creatures! We saw sea urchins, a spider starfish, a sea snake (which is extremely poisonous!), a regular starfish, brain coral, a Stonefish (who when touched squirts out a purply-reddish poisonous liquid), big clams with wavy shells, and other fish that I couldn’t name! We planned our snorkeling trip for Christmas day based on Friday’s offer to plan that for us as well! That afternoon we got sodas at the hotel and just rested on the beach for a while. Since we didn’t buy lunch, I consumed nearly a whole sleeve of date rolls (the Ugandan equivalent of fig newtons!) during the afternoon. That afternoon, I also bought what I would call sarongs, but they are called kangas in Kenya. They are basically swimsuit cover-ups or big wraps. I bought an orange one with African animals and the Kenyan flag colors on it, a green one with leopard spots, one with maasi on it, and red one with maasi villages on it.

After using the outdoor showers, we changed into our evening attire to go to a Christmas Eve service. We asked at the hotel about a church to attend for a Christmas Eve service and were told that the Word of Life Church was just down the road. We headed down there to attend the service and I realized as we walked into the service that the church and surrounding building were part of Word of Life from Schroon Lake, New York! There I was attending a Christmas Eve service in Mombasa that had connections to a ministry that many of my friends in the states had attended school at! The service consisted of Christmas carols, scripture readings, and testimonies given by Kenyans. It was truly a blessing to go to! It was strange having church in a big open-air thatched roof kind of building on Christmas Eve with the ocean just a few yards away. After the service, we met a few German students, who were spending a year with the ministry there in Mombasa. They recommended an Italian restaurant that was just across the road for dinner. We took their advice and went to the most amazing restaurant! So on Christmas Eve far from home, I found myself eating a great salad, Spaghetti Carbonara and peanut butter gelato in Kenya! The restaurant was open air (as are most restaurant in Uganda and Kenya) with a fabric draped ceiling and a waterfall in the center of the restaurant behind glass. The setting beautiful and very much resort-like! We enjoyed our dinner and then piled back in the van to head back to our condo at Nyali Beach. We stayed up late in our steaming hot apartment and ate popcorn to bring in Christmas Day. I think we were all trying not to cry thinking about our families back in the U.S. Christmas morning came quickly as most of us went to bed around 1am or later!

 

 

December 25: Christmas Day!

We woke to an incredible breakfast on Christmas morning made by “Mama” Terri! She made cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, sliced fresh fruit, and little boxed cereals! It was a great breakfast! Terri and I gave out our presents as well. Terri made each of us a little stocking with an ornament and a bracelet/jewelry inside. I got a big leather zebra striped bracelet. My presents were headbands for everyone. We then left to head to Denali Beach again. Once again, we had to wait to get on the ferry to go across. We hung out at another hotel called Leopard Beach Resort for the day. It was beautiful!

By 10am, we were off in the glass-bottomed boat to go snorkeling! There was just a small window in the bottom of the boat, though. Despite poor equipment for snorkeling, we had a great time out on the boat and snorkeling! I just wish I had been able to take underwater pictures! I saw so many amazing fish! I even saw one that was literally a plaid fish with orange, green, and blue! It was amazing! I also saw another sea snake, brain coral, sea urchins, Butterfly fish, purple and yellow fish, and other fish as well. It is hard to describe how amazing it was to be snorkeling on Christmas morning! That afternoon we rested on the beach as we listened to two serenade the tourist with a guitar and saxophone. The children followed them around like they were pied pipers. The saxophone playing combined with the beach setting reminded me of “Muppet Treasure Island” and the night scene on the beach with Muppet band playing while Long John Silver and crew tried to convince Jim to join them! One funny song they played was “Take Me Home” that I think was written by Jimmy Buffet. There’s a line in it that says, “Take me home to West Virginia”! It was rather humorous hearing that line since I was from Virginia!

We took some time to rest in the shade or sun during the afternoon and then had some sodas and chips mid-afternoon! We then walked down the beach some. Before we left that beach that afternoon, we did some wood carving shopping! I found a wooden bowl for my mom, elephant bookends for my dad, warthogs for my sisters, and cat carving for myself. Later that evening after enjoying the ocean for as long as possible, we left to head back to our condo, so we could get back in time to Skype from an internet café with our families.

A few of us changed and headed down to the Internet café only to find it was closed! A couple of us then resorted to using our phones to call our families. Sadly, I didn’t have mine! I sat on the curb and cried a bit as I watched the other three chatted with their families. Then, Nathanael sat and chatted with me for a bit. The rest of the crew then came down and met us at the Turkish restaurant. I had a beef kabob and passion fruit juice for Christmas night dinner, while we were serenaded by 90’s American pop music that was being played from a CD! It was rather humorous! We were then given complimentary Turkish tea as we finished our dinner around 11pm! Once we returned to the condo, I decided to call my family briefly so I could update them on our trip! I hadn’t chatted with them for about 4-5 days! It was so nice to chat briefly with them and tell them I had been on a camel ride and went snorkeling. As I got off the phone, I just couldn’t help crying! Thankfully, Terri, (who was really warm from making popcorn in our hot little kitchen), hugged me and let me cry a little. It was after 1am again once I showered and went to bed.