"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, August 11, 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013

I'm posting the last couple days at the same time.  A similar opening is posted for Thursday's story.  We're all on our Emirates flight en route to JFK... somewhere over the Atlantic.  As we've said all along, thank you for you thoughts, prayers, and continued support.  I'm sure that phone calls will be made once we're through customs and back on US soil, officially.  I wanted everyone to know we are safe... thought that was more important than posting pictures.  The internet speeds are slow on the plane, so I'll be posting pictures from JFK.  And yes, I know how pathetic it sounds that I'm disappointed that the internet, although available, is slow.  I'm on a plane over the middle of the Atlantic - it's amazing that we even have access to the internet!  Please continue reading, and thank you for doing so...  

We started the day early.  Breakfast at 7, on the road by 7:30.  Everyone looked forward to a hot shower with clean (or at the very least “cleaner”) water.  No such luck in our tent.  It lasted for about 10 minutes before reverting back to ice cold.  The water in Maseno was warmer!  We got through it.  This was exactly the same scenario we encountered the last time here last year.  Andrea and I were the last to arrive at around 7:20.  I guess we were off on the schedule.  Breakfast was now at 7:20, and we left at 8.  Karibu Kenya.  Things are just run at a slower pace here, so you really need to stay on top of things.  When I say “here,” I don’t mean Entumoto, I mean Kenya.


As we drove, the air was cool.  Wildebeests were everywhere, as far as the eye could see.  The dotted the landscape in every direction.  Zebras and gazelles were mixed into the crowds.  Isaac talked as we drove.  The wildebeests and zebra are the only animals that migrate, and the latter follows the former.  You see these single file lines that actually wear down a path into the ground where the grass used to be. 

After seeing everything imaginable, we stopped for lunch in the middle of the park.  We ate as wildebeest and zebras walked by, paying us no mind.  You could see a string of 12 giraffes walking (also single file) in the distance. 

Although the grass looks ridiculously dry, it’s actually quite the opposite.  The wildebeest are Kenya’s lawnmowers.  You can see where they’ve been because the grass goes from being 3 feet high, to being 6 inches high.  Then the zebras come by and eat the rest.  It’s a pretty efficient system.  The rains are not heavy, but they’re consistent and new shoots of grass pop up quickly.  The animals have enough sense to follow the rain.  Isaac says that’s about the only common sense the wildebeest have.  “God gave them all the leftovers.  Mane of a lion, legs like a horse, horns like a cape buffalo, body of a gazelle… but no brains.”  The sound they make is like a muffled “No” from somebody that’s been smoking since they were 12.  “No.  No.  No.” comes from the herds all day long.  Isaac fills in questions between the “No’s.”
“Seen any lions?”  No.
“Seen any cheetahs?”  No.
“Seen any crocodile?”  No.
“Do you want to be the first to jump down and cross the river?” No.
We, however, did see all three.  Today we saw the alligators sunning themselves with the hippos.  Although the crocodile are usually pretty static, the hippos are not.  Today was the opposite.  The only significant movement was an alligator that came up out of the water to lay next to another one.  The hippos were apparently offended by our presence as they kept their backs to us most of the time.
We then moved further down the river tone of the 4 or  spots that the wildebeest cross.  We waited 200 yards away so that the engines wouldn’t spook them.  When we left Rochester, Andrea was saying, “The only thing I really want to see is an crocodile eating a wildebeest.”  Most people protested, commenting on the brutality of it, but she said, “When we get there, you won’t feel the same way.”  She would soon be proved right.
The wildebeast slowly arrived in several single file lines and then stopped at the edge of the embankment.  Their numbers grew exponentially.  The alpha males would be running across the front of the gathering, but other than that, there was little activity as more and more continued to arrive.  A younger one emerged from the crowd, and we all thought it was time. No.  They moved closer to the edge, but never committed.  Then they started to spread out across the edge, while the occupants (including me) were using all the telekinesis we could muster to push those wildebeest over the edge.  It’s clear that today they weren’t as dumb as we’d hoped. While they normally make the journey across one or two at a time, now they looked as though they were going to come down in a wave.  We had to move the car because they were coming towards our vantage point which happened to be another of the crossing points.  The rain started coming, and unfortunately the alphas turned around and started back toward the mara and away from Tanzania and the Serengeti.  Like Lemmings, they all followed.  Nuts.  We were hoping to see the more brutal side of tumultuous side of this area’s great circle of life.  Not today.
We then headed back to camp.  We were clear on the other side of the mara, so we drove for so long that Isaac stopped the vehicle to give everyone the opportunity to get out and stretch their legs, and grab a drink if they chose. 

I know I’m missing info and things that we saw, but I took so many pictures that I’ll let them do the talking for me.
We leave for Nairobi tomorrow… ½ of us are going on a game drive at 7:30am, the other half will be having breakfast at 9am and then heading directly to Keekorok “airport” to meet up with the those that got up earlier. 
It was barbecue night in the dining room and it was fabulous.  Chicken, beef and lamb with mixed vegetables.  yum.
See you tomorrow.

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