Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 1 - Ellies, Giraffes and Beads

To ease us into our new time zone and sooth the jet lag somewhat they had us spend a full day in the Nairobi area before we headed out to Bogani. This included visiting David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage - our first taste of the African wildlife up close and personal. Many of the ellies were orphaned as a result of poaching and the killing of their parents. The handlers bring the baby ellies out each day for an hour at 11 am so people can watch them feed and then romp and play. The infants love to wrestle with one another, piling into a muddle of reddish skin and dirt. It was mesmerizing to watch the personalities of these playful mini giants emerge so quickly before our eyes. Just when it wasn't surreal enough ... "cue giraffes"  two giraffes sauntered gracefully across the backdrop of the whole ellie scene. Pinch me.
We moved along to the Giraffe Centre which is dedicated to breeding and preserving the endangered Rothschild giraffe. You can feed the giraffes and if you are feeling a little lonely and don't mind a long tongue, you can even share a big wet kiss with a long necked beauty.

After lunch our final stop was a visit to the Kazuri Bead Factory. Kazuri means “small and beautiful” in Swahili and the factory produces hand made ceramic jewellery, beads and tableware. The neat thing about this place is that it started with two Kenyan women and grew to provide sustainable employment for many other single mothers who need regular employment. Kazuri has grown and prospered and now ships their handmade jewellery all over the world. The shop is an explosion of colour and textures and completely lures you in. I found myself loading my basket with a potpourri of shiny beads, necklaces and bracelets - gifts for the girls and women in my life back home. Because it was Sunday, the workers were off however the shop echoed with their vibration, laughter and the positive, handwritten posters taped to the walls told the rest of the story. This was a good place in which dignity resides - a workplace in which the women could access the health clinic; feel proud of their craftsmanship and entertain possibility.
Notes from my journal:
~ peaceful breakfast on the veranda at Karen Blixen, breathing in the freshness and peace
~ an embarassing encounter with the coffee press
~ getting a piece of branch from a local man to clean my teeth
~ scenic beauty of the National Reserve
~ Tuskers in the bar before dinner
~ dinner with candlelight and Celtic strings
~ stimulating conversation
~ tearful when asked about my personal highlight of the day ... dream come true
~ wishing I could share this with hubby
Next stop ... FTC Bogani camp on the Mara.


  1. Hi! Finally got a moment to have a look at your travels in Africa, and I'm loving all the details.. I am actually supposed to be doing some serious catch up work, but thought it was time for a little fun procrastination!

  2. I had to laugh at Darcy's expression - She looks terrified!

  3. my new favourite word, kazuri. and i so love ceramic beads.

    one love.

  4. I love the story about the bead factory, love how it opened up jobs for people :)

    Thanks for sharing the notes from your journal, I felt like I was there..it must have been such an amazing experience!

    Miss you