Family Fun at Lake Nakuru

June proved to be a busy month, as expected. My (Rachel's) mom was here for 4 weeks and the time just flew by. Most of it was due to Rachel going back to work. But we found some time during the last week to get out and enjoy some more parts of Kenya. We visited Olderkesi, in Maasai Mara, for a little R&R, although not many animals (other than the domesticated sort) were seen. Then we headed to Lake Nakuru, one of Kenya's most popular game parks. It was fun because we could just drive our own van around inside the park, stop for picnic lunches and photo shoots, etc. Here are some of the highlights.

To start with, Eric and Jean went in to the park office to buy our tickets while Rachel stayed behind with the kiddos. We heard some thumping on the roof and then a small visitor tried to squeeze in through the window...

Maggie got some good views of the animals from the front seat, as you can see.

Our first viewing was right inside the park gates: a hamerkop. Eric bought us a bird book about 10 months ago and it quickly became Maggie's favorite book to look at. Consequently, it was easy to pick out a few unique species in the park. Apparently Nakuru is one of the prime locations in Kenya for bird viewers.

Not long after, we saw a white rhino grazing at the side of the road. It's not white because of its coloring (this one is just covered in dried mud) but rather the mouth and nose shape. We saw others on our drive but this one was definitely the closest. We watched it eat for awhile and then watched it run into a tree. Not so great eyesight, I've heard.

We meandered around the lake to the south end of the park and saw lots of impala, water buck, gazelle, zebras, and giraffe along the way.

Then we all got out of the car for a stretch, snack, and viewing of some nice (albeit brown) falls.

Back around the lake for more giraffes...

As well as a BUNCH of birds. Lake Nakuru is known for its flamingo population, and from a distance the lake looks ringed in pink. We did see a lot of flamingos, but I think even more pelicans.

We stopped for lunch at a place called Baboon Cliff. Why the moniker? Take a guess. When we got there, it was just a bunch of tourists with giant cameras enjoying the view. We got out our cooler and started making sandwiches on a picnic table. Rachel was in the van feeding Ben when all of a sudden she saw a giant baboon run from the direction of our picnic table into the trees carrying something. It was a large male who, literally quick as a flash, had jumped onto the table, grabbed a loaf of bread out of our cooler inches from where Maggie was sitting, and dashed off. Yikes. Certainly excited the tourists! It took about 2 seconds of debating to pack up lunch and try a different spot. Oh yes. Beware the Baboon Menace.

The rest of the day was pretty tame. Saw some zebras having fun...

And a saddle billed stork by the lake, another bird book feature. All in all, a fun day! More on our adventures in an upcoming post.


Missing Kenya #10: Cheap Flowers

We have mentioned before on our blog that Kenya's #1 export is flowers. This may seem strange, but less so when you've lived in this continual growing climate. The prior context for mentioning this fact was that Kenya lost millions every day that air traffic to Europe was closed during the Icelandic ash storm last year.

And so, almost everywhere you go in Nairobi, people are selling flowers. When you consider the price of sending them to Europe, you can probably imagine that they are pretty cheap here. The lilies you see below cost 200 shillings, or about $2.40. They are beautiful and last for quite a while, so we've gotten in the habit of picking up a bunch when we are in town.

Roses are even cheaper. They don't even sell them a dozen at a time. You have to get two dozen, which costs 150 shillings, or about $1.75. We were just hearing of a high-school missionary kid asking a girl to a dance by sending her a bouquet of 6 dozen roses. Of course, she was impressed, but he would have spent more by taking her out to McD's, and buying an extra value meal. Not that it wasn't debonair. It was. Really.

In the US, we'd pick up some flowers occasionally at Trader Joe's, even when the only special event was the beginning of spring, which was in fact, a special event. But we've gotten to enjoy them more here, and we'll miss it.


Missing Kenya

T minus 12 weeks until we move back to the US for a year. Altogether, it is something we are looking forward to, feeling that the timing is good. We are excited to see family, and now that we have our sights set on Burundi, we are excited to be moving towards that goal.

But it has been a good time here, and there are many things we'll miss. As well as many things we'll look forward to in the US. And the top of both of those lists are the friends and family that belong to either place. But we don't need to blog about that in order for you to know it. So, we'll be planning, between now and our departure, our Top 10 Things to Miss About Living in Kenya, after the fashion of our prior Ann Arbor List.


Happy Father's Day!


The Return of Grandma

Almost exactly one year after her initial arrival in Kenya, my mom returned for more of the grandkids! Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I had to return to work right away so we have been to busy to post until now. The kids have taken to Grandma (gamma) quite well, and so it's been a lot easier for me to leave for the hospital 3 days a week.

Here's what they've been up to. Lots of reading books...
Trying on new outfits from Grandma and others (an entire large suitcase was full of gifts mainly for the kids)...

More reading books...

Helping Grandma get ready for church...
And also lots of playing outside.
We have a few fun trips planned in the upcoming weeks, but we are mostly just looking forward to spending more time together.


On the Road in Kenya

Last Tuesday, I went with a few other hospital staff to help check out a couple of distant dispensaries. As you can see, they were considerably "off the tarmac". We had a lovely herd of giraffe crossing the road in front of us. We also got to see some wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, impala, and warthogs.