Good morning, again, or good afternoon, evening, etc… Yesterday, Harriet and I began our journey back to North American shores, but what a journey. We caught a propeller plane out of Kilimanjaro to Nairobi, sailing above the clouds with the peaks of Africa’s highest mountains floating alongside us. Along with Louis and our Kenya coordinators, Beatrice, Caroline and Godfrey, we landed in the busy, narrow halls of Jomo Kenyatta and said some more goodbye’s.
But with 12 hours before our flight out, Louis had planned a surprise for Harriet and me. Harrison, our favorite Nairobi driver (hello, Harrison!), whisked us off to the Sheldrick elephant orphanage for feeding time. That’s right–baby elephants, cavorting in mud pools, downing bottles of baby formula, tussling with their nursery mates and shuffling awkwardly over to the crowd to nuzzle at bystanders with a miniature trunk. Ridiculously cute photos to come. And next time you are in Nairobi, show up during the only public hour of the day, 11:00-12:00.
From elephants to giraffes, Harrison took us down the road to another sanctuary, where this time an extraordinarily social giraffe nuzzled up to the treehouse railing to eat pellets from the hands if guests and offer the occasional giraffe kiss on the face. Honestly, I am a little worried about my long-necked friend’s waistline, but the warthog group that dodge under his feet for dropped goodies probably capture a good bit of the loot. Unlike the elephants, the giraffes are “in” for breeding.
We took our lunch under a Jacorand (sp?) tree at the Karen Blixen house, a little taste of what it would have been like to be the .003 percent in the Kenyan colonial era. And from their we toured the Nazzuri bead factory. Designed to create employment for poor women in the area, and especially single mothers, Nazzuri pays fair wages and medical care costs for women and their families even while the women receive training in all aspects of ceramics and jewelry making. The whiteboard in the front room lists orders from all over the world, including 8 US locations.
Dusty and happily worn out, Harriet and I made our way back to the airport for a long layover and some leisurely conversation with the new friends we met in the airport.
As I write this post (hopefully the last one to be composed on the teeny, tiny iPhone screen for another year), I am in Terminal 5 at London Heathrow. A very large latte and a butter croissant are making me feel a little more human, and the sun is just blinking in through the clouds outside the window. It has been a day (or a couple of days?) of too many locations and too many time zones for my poor, fragile mind to keep straight. So I wish you all a good day, or night, wherever and whenever you are from the nowhere and everywhere of the airport. Until later…