"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Building Futures, Inc.

Building Futures, Inc.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Friday - July 20, 2012

We left for the airport at 7am, and got there in plenty of time.  The internet connection has been a problem as of late, but I don’t know why.  It indicates that I’m connected, but I can’t get to any website.  Last night I was trying to figure out what our baggage weight limit was.  I didn’t manage to get to the site until close to midnight, and it wasn’t the news I was looking for… both bags were overweight.  No big deal, I just distributed the items among three bags. It worked out better than I expected, and at 1:30am I was back in bed.

Samuel and Caleb wanted to come with us to “push us off,” but we had a smaller vehicle, so they weren’t able to join us.  Samuel insisted that we stop at Chulembo on the way to the airport. As we approached the small town, Samuel was sitting on his bicycle, waiting for us.  Two more back breaking hugs, and we returned to the vehicle.  He’s a good man.  He took great pride in the fact that while we were skyping yesterday,  Andrea asked him if he was taking care of Kevin.  He talked about it most of the night.  We got back into the Prado, and off we went… Samuel continuing to wave as we vanished in the distance.

The flight was uneventful.  A little late due to the fog, but it didn’t interrupt our plans at all.  It was Job’s first flight!  I asked him if he was nervous, and he said no.  He enjoyed looking down on the changing landscape very much.  Kevin (who was seated next to him) was not so thrilled.  All he wanted to do was sleep (do you sense a theme with him?).  Every time the steward came by, Kevin was hit in the arm, “Kevin, water?”  “Kevin, nuts?”  They laughed about it later.  It’s only a 40 minute flight, so I don’t think it really matters in the long run.

He can’t be too tired.  While I’m typing this blog, he’s down at the exercise room with Job.  Yes, I said, “Exercise Room.”  The Royale Hotel in Karen is just outside of Nairobi.  It’s beautiful.   Karen is apparently a rather affluent area, and it shows.  We’ll be joining Isaac for a barbecue downstairs tonight… after Kevin and Job exercise, then take a swim (yes, there’s a pool, too… and a sauna and a spa!).  Here’s the view from the window.  The town Karen is apparently the "Beverly Hills" of Kenya. And what other name could you give it than "Karen?"

What a day we had.  We sat and had lunch at the hotel first.  Then we went to the Giraffe Park.  It was awesome.  Andrea and the girls would have loved it!  We’ll definitely come back.  They take care of an endangered species of giraffe here, and you can tell they’re well cared for.  We were able to feed them by hand, only because Job and Kevin were afraid to put a pellet in their mouth for the giraffe to take it.  I wasn’t afraid at all!  The giraffe we were feeding by hand walked away to be with the other 5, so the workers had to call them over.  The tallest one slowly made her way over.  I gave Isaac the camera, put the pellet in my mouth, and WHAM!  I think she should have sent flowers first!  I got giraffe saliva from my chin to the tip of my nose.  Next came Job, then Kevin, with similar responses.  I needed Kevin to go twice, though, because I she grabbed the pellet so quickly, I missed the shot.  He later tweeted his friends that he kissed a giraffe twice.  My favorite response came from his friend Meg who immediately said, “TAKE THE MEDICINE!”  We were seated in a bar having a Tusker when he got that response, and it made the entire group laugh out loud.  She said she’d think about going with us.  I think she’d be a blast!

We got dropped off at the park by one of Isaac's friends, and we were close enough that we could walk back.  After 3/4 of a mile, Isaac asked if we wanted to stop and get something to drink.  I thought he meant water, but he wanted a Tusker!  We stopped at a club, and everyone had something.  Apparently, this place is packed with people dancing. There's a pool table in the back, too.

We came back to the hotel, and now we’re waiting to meet for dinner.  I can hear Kevin lifting weights with Job.  His voice is unmistakable.   It sounds more like he’s teaching Job how to lift weights.  I couldn’t believe the amenities at this place. If you ever get stuck in Nairobi, this is the place I’d go.  Isaac gave us some great news, too.  Between our traveling group to Kenya, and the nurses form Wegmans School of Nursing at St. John Fisher, he got together with his brothers (who are also guides at Masai Mara) and formed a travel company - Leopard Claws Safari.  Isn’t that awesome!?  Now, all we have to do is call him to set us up in any camp!  Perfect.  We’ve already begun planning the next trip.  Rather than fly to Nairobi and then to Masai Mara, he will come pick us up in vans like the one pictured (not matatus) and take a 3 hour drive to Narok.  There, we’ll have dinner with his family and spend the nice at a nice hotel.  The next morning we take a 2 hour drive to Masai Mara and the sight seeing begins.  There’s more to discuss, but it sounds like a very cost-effective and enjoyable way to go!  We’ll see.

I’m going to try to post this as soon as I get service.  It hasn’t started yet, so I’m not hopeful.  I still need to add the pictures to this blog, as well as yesterdays, so I can post that too.

Andrea, Katie and Karen would have loved this part of the trip.  Between spending quality time with Isaac, the Giraffe Park and the beauty of Karen (not you, honey, the town), it would have been fabulous.  

I’m still wrestling with the modem while we wait for dinner at 7:30pm, and here’s the exchange I had with Kevin,

Kevin - “Do you think we should take the medicine because a giraffe licked us?” 
Dad – “No.”
Kevin – “Bacteria, man!”
Dad – “Did his tongue go in your mouth?”
Kevin – “Well, no, at least I don’t think so.  Actually, I think I’d have known.”
Yes, I think he would have… the sucker was about 9 inches long.
Dinner was outstanding!  Isaac wanted to take us to a barbecue, and the best part was that we didn’t have to go far – it was here!  We had goat and chips (French fries).  I was a bit leery, because the last time I had goat it was very gamey.  That was during the celebration of the completion of Mbaka Oromo Primary School.  They walked the goat passed me, then brought him back on a plate.  I didn’t get to see him beforehand on this occasion, but I’ve got to tell you, he was tasty.  It was the equivalent of a mild lamb.  Fabulous.  Kevin even like it, although I’m pretty sure he liked the chips more.  He said, “Mom would have like this.”  I don’t think so; she’s definitely not a lamb person.  I’m sure she’d at least try it.  

We got back to our room at about 9pm to try and skype one last time, but no luck.  I’m not sure what the deal is with the modem, but it’s very frustrating.  At least when I do get service I’ll be able to post these in succession – all I have to do is cut and paste.   It’s actually quite cold here, so I’m sure we’ll sleep soundly.  I don’t think it’s above 65 at the moment, with a light rain.  Kevin convinced Isaac that we should go to a place that we passed on the way here from the airport.  It’s actually about 5 minutes from this hotel.  Would you believe we saw a KFC?  I don’t think I want KFC before a 1 hour flight, so my stomach’s already upset thinking about having it before a 6 hour flight, then a 13 hour flight.  Ugh, no thank you.  Well, maybe I’ll have a taste.  I can’t imagine it’s anywhere as near as plump as a US KFC.  They probably just deepfry the bones with the crunch on the outside and the inside.

See you all tomorrow

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