Sunday, June 03, 2012

Days 6,7 and 8 - Kenya Journal

It was a difficult transition for us to go from Katito to the Mara.  In an instant we went from incredible poverty and need to oppulance.  The Maasai Mara Game Camp was a beautiful resort in the middle of the Mara.  We had incredible food, great accomodations, and everything we needed.  I know I wasn't the only one on the team to struggle with the transition, but it was explained to us that the Kenyan's really believed it important for us to see the beautiful side of their country.  Kenyan's are amazingly proud of the beauty and abundance of their country and wanted to make sure that we experienced the good with the bad.  And experience it we did.

Kenya journal - 11-13 May, 2012

Friday morning was our getaway day.  Some of us decided to return to the market before we left.  Peter drove us and we did some final shopping and returned to the hotel for checkout and to pick of the rest of the team.  Amazingly, the entire IPA team returned to see us off.  That was bittersweet, as we got to see them all again, but also had to say goodbye again.

We flew from Kisumu to Nairobi and saw off Justus and Tracy.  We then got into our vans and drove to the Sarova Hotel to take care of the safari charges.  This was the one part of the trip that I was concerned about our security.  We did not know our drivers (although transportation had been arranged prior).  When we arrived at the beautiful hotel, my concerns were eliminated, at least until we saw our plane.  After taking care of the charges, we drove to the small airport.  We waited a while for our Air Kenya flight.  Our plane had 11 seats.  Our weight allowance for baggage was 33 pounds per person...we were all way over and had to pay $360 total in baggage fees.  Our 45 minute flight to the Maasai Mara was incredible.  We stayed at 10,000 feet and saw Maasai villages and their Acacia tree rings that protect them from the animals.  We saw some game from the plane, including a couple of elephant near the airstrip.  We landed on the dirt runway at the Keekorok was terribly frightening and exciting.

We met our drivers, we given a refreshing towel and drink of juice and were whisked to our first game drive.  It was unbelievable.  I don't remember the names of all of the animals, but needless to say we saw everything over the course of the three days.  The only animals my car did not see were baboons, zebra, leopards, and crocodile.  We saw everything else: elephants, tipu, herdebeast, Grahame's gazelle, Thompson's gazelle, cheetahs, lions - including lions feeding on two cape buffalo, cape buffalo, antelope, rhino, giraffe, hippos, and many others.  After the first drive, we went to the hotel.  We checked in and went to our tents. They were awesome...very comfortable with a great shower / bathroom.

We ended up going on that drive on Friday, two on Saturday and another on Sunday.  The itinerary was to meet for coffee at 6:00am and leave the camp at 6:30am.  After about 3 hours of driving around, we would return to the hotel for breakfast.  Except on Saturday, where we had a bush breakfast scheduled.  We ate in the park with giraffes in the background.  It was amazing.  We had champagne, great food, and great company over amazing scenery and giraffes keeping a eye on us.

We returned to the hotel and several of us decided to fish in the pond.  Using rods with no reels (like fishing with cane poles), we caught a lot of fish: Nile carp, mudfish, and tilapia.  It was fun and very relaxing.  We then had lunch, tea, and went out to our evening game drive.

Sunday was the same, but we decided to go to the river to see the hippos.  We got out of the cars and saw the hippos in the water.  Because the water is high right now, there were no crocs where we were.  We learned that the river we were seeing feeds into Lake Victoria, which feeds the Nile river.

We returned to the hotel for breakfast, but I skipped thinking a shower was more important.  We checked out and stopped at the Maasai village.  They danced for us and we went into one of the dung homes.  The corralled us ito their market and gave us the hard sell.  Ultimately, I had had enough of that and decided to head back to the cars.  We did learn that the Maasai do hunt lions and are required to be part of a hunting party that kill a lion in order to get circumcised and married.

We then left for the airstrip and took our 11-seater to Nairobi, where our drivers were waiting for us to take us to the international airport.  We then waited several hours for our flight to London.  I'm on our flight to Dallas as I type this.  We have about 2 hours left and I am getting excited about getting home and seeing my girls.  I am also excited about continuing what God is doing in me, as well.

We have so many takeaways from this trip that it will take me a long time to process all of them.  I look forward to continuing this journal and "getting what they have!". Mambo sawa sawa...things are getting better, and so am I.

1 comment:

ChefMichele said...

What an Incredible experience!