Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Kenya - In the Mara, the Mighty Mara, the Lion Sleeps Tonight

sasa friends! thought i would drop one last note as my time in kenya is coming to an end - can hardly believe i left home over 3 weeks ago. we got back to what we have affectionately named Nairobi Rob Kenobi today from four amazing days in southwest kenya at the masai mara reserve.

before i say a few a words about that - just a couple things about the first couple weeks. working in the school in the slum were pretty insightful. i'm really going to miss a few of the kids, especially the little Ndugu (About Schmidt fans) that i would like to bring home. the one thing i won't miss is the way the teachers beat (literally) the kids, it's so hard to watch. I had my share of wooden spoon swats on the butt as a child, but watching a 5 year old get struck all over his body and screaming in pain, all for missing a math problem, is too much for me take. i did manage to get through without falling into the great wide stinch - if the olympics ever add long distance sewage jumping as an event i think i can medal in it.

so just when i was getting used to not having hot water and having to remember to move the toilet paper before showering, we flew to masai mara, the huge game park that people come to kenya to experience. Four of us spent the last few days in utter luxury in these amazing tent bungalows at a brand new lodge and were waited on like royalty. at night after a four-course dinner we'd sit around the bonfire and discuss important things like did Johnny and Baby end up together, or was it just a summer fling that never really lasted. The stargazing was incredible and I got to see the Southern Cross.

The game drives were a lot of fun - especially with our goofiness. Jodi and I have fun talking to the animals like they're supermodels when we take their photos - you're fabulous, work it, amazing. We had an intimate encounter with 14 elephants that surrounded our jeep and saw just about everything else there we could see animal-wise. Yesterday I jokingly asked our driver, Vulture, if I could drive our massive 4x4 Land Rover open air jeep as and he said yes - so for about 30 minutes I off-roaded through the Mara on the bumpiest trails - it was so fun...although my friends may say it was terrifying! we were also INCREDIBLY fortunate in that the annual famed wildebeest migration started while we were there as they crossed over from tanzania (which we went into) and into kenya. it was such a sight - thousands of them everywhere. by far the coolest thing we did was a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the reserve, it was such an unparalleled view of God's wild imagination on display through His creation!

wow - just had ANOTHER earthquake literally as i write this. That is number 4 in the last 3 days. last night's in the mara was so bad it woke me up! it's been two years since they've had these and are speculating a really big one may be just about to happen....hopefully not in the next 48 hours while I'm still here.

One of my friend's and I got a room in town for the next couple days and tomorrow I'm spending the day with the boy (and his family) that I sponsor who lives about 30 minutes from town, then thursday night I'm off to London for a couple days before returning home. My diet here consists of the 4 C's, carbs, coffee, chocolate and cookies so it will be good to get home and back to normal and healthy eating!

thanks for all your fun emails and prayers - this trip has been amazing for me in so many ways and I feel like I have a new and much-needed perspective on many things.

Stefani (just like from Bold and the Beautiful as every Kenyan says to me)

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