Friday, July 31, 2009

That Long Ago Trip to Kenya: Episode One, Visiting the Baby Elephants

We were toying with the idea of cleaning the house and then going to the library. However, as it is pouring rain it seemed better to waste time online looking at pictures of kittens and reading all the corrections to the Old Classical Conversations Foundations Guide and listening to this:

Finally it occurred to me to blog (did I mention the house needs cleaning?) and at the very least put up some of the very fine pictures we have of our recent trip to Kenya.

As is always the case, any time I visit my parents I come back in a better frame of mind, more grounded in reality, more cheerful, and, in this case, well able to put the grief and stress of the last six months behind me and focus on the present. I've been able to put back on the garment of contentment I once wore, and also look forward in delight and anticipation to this next baby, nameless though she continues.

I'm so grateful that we got to go and see the Anglican Church in Kenya first hand, and see NEGST, where my dad teaches, and see another part of such a vast continent. I'm embarrassed to say that I was surprised to find Kenya as recognizably African. I assumed it would be So Different from the the French Northwest. But it felt comfortable and homelike.

For this first installment, not in chronological order, I thought I'd indulge in pictures from the orphaned baby elephant reserve. There is a fixed time every day that the public can go and see these baby elephants have their large bottles of milk (baby formula to be exact, talk about expensive). The elephants are rescued from a variety of unhappy circumstances--falling in wells, death of the mother, falling into holes in a pipeline, wounded by hyenas. If I remember correctly, there were 19 elephants, way up from previous years because poaching is up.

This young lady delivered a fascinating and informative lecture about the elephants. As she talked, various baby elephants came for pats and to see if there was more to eat. She told us how the various elephants came to be there, and what their lives were like. For instance, baby elephants miss their mamas exceedingly and often cry through the night. They each have their own keeper who sleeps with them all night, feeds them, plays with them and generally lives with them all the time. All other human contact is very minimized so that they can be reintroduced into the wild. This process, once they are taken to the main reserve, can last anywhere from 2 to 6 or more years.

Along with all the baby elephants, this little orphaned Rhino came out to be acclaimed and patted by all. He was very interested in all the people and everyone got to touch him. We, foolishly, waited till he had been lathered in mud before we got our turn.

No comments: