Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Zebras, giraffes and rhinos... oh my!

Hello again!

We have had quite the eventful past three days. Sunday morning he headed off with our awesome driver Steven to Lake Nakuru Game Lodge! We first stopped along the way at an overlook of the Great Rift Valley, which is also known as the "food basket" because of how productive it is. For the first time on the trip we all got to bargain with the locals for some beautiful souvenirs, and we will all agree that it is slightly stressful, fortunately they were all very nice and treated us well. The road that we were traveling on was built by Italian Prisoners of War during WWII! We learned that Nakuru town is the fastest growing city in all of Africa, which is really great! We finally arrived at Lake Nakuru Game Lodge and were greeted by lots of baboons, they are very entertaining animals to watch! Over the next two days we went on four different game drives and they offered their own adventure. One of them was beautiful and sunny, one was rainy, another was at sunrise and finally we had an incident. We were blessed to be able to see all of the different animals that we did including: flamingos, a hippo (which is rare because they do not live in alkaline lakes usually), zebras, rhinos (and a baby rhino), giraffes, cape buffalo, water buck, thompson gazelles, impalas, lions, hyenas, warthogs, elands, silverback jackels, and many different birds. It is completely true when they say it is a bird watchers paradise. The rooms we got to stay in were phenomenal! Our backyard was 20 feet from the fence that kept the animals in and we had zebras grazing and a black rhino browsing! It was awesome! Steven is a great tour guide and helped us to identify many animals and answers any and all questions that we had! It was really fun to just be on the lookout for the animals. On our last game drive out of the park we were on a lion hunt and came across a rather large mud hole, in which our safari van got stuck! So we all piled out of the car bravely and after 45 minutes of pushing and shoving we finally got the van unstuck! Brooke even got to take a turn at driving the manual safari van so Steven could help push! It was quite the adventure but we all enjoyed it!

After being in awe of the African wildlife we headed on our way back to Nairobi! We had our first experience in an African Supermarket where we all tried some new foods. We then stopped at Kazuri Beads and Pottery, which is a shop that was founded as opportunity for single women to learn the trade of bead and pottery making. The shop started with just a few women and now employs over 340 women, all of whom take part in every stage of making the beautiful hand crafted and painted jewelry and pottery. We were able to tour the facility and see the women completing each step in the process. At the end we got the opportunity to shop in the store and there were a lot of tough decisions that were made because all of the products are stunning!

Today we toured Nairobi Women's Hospital and learned so much from the wonderful people there. It was really neat to compare urban healthcare to the rural healthcare that we saw in Chogoria. We were able to talk with the general manager and director of nursing to get many of our questions answered! This afternoon we were able to do some more souvenir shopping at shops that support low-income individuals and it is always neat to see what they can make! Tonight we went out to eat with Salvador, one of Sharon's friends, at a delicious Indian restaurant and spent time talking about the health care system in Kenya! We all learned a lot and were grateful for the opportunity to spend time with him, since he has been a doctor here in Kenya for 16 years! Thanks for reading and we'll post again soon!

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