The Safari

Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
Trip End May 14, 2009

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Where I stayed
Mission in Action

Flag of Kenya  ,
Thursday, April 23, 2009

The highlights of this week are that a rescue team of 2 arrived to attempt to fix the situation at the IHF Center, that Naomi Mwakesege, the Director of the Center, turned on us up on meeting the Rescue Team, and Janika, the third volunteer who had decided to stay at the Center after we left, got kicked out, because she carried information to me about what was happening there and asked the Rescue Team why they were staying at a hotel instead of the Center. All IHF drama aside, the Safari that our host Ivan took us on today will always remain as one of the most pleasurable experiences of my life...

Woke up at 5.45am. Left in Ivan's jeep at 6.15am. Destination: Lake Nakuru National Park. Milena and I had been waiting for this for a long time. The entrance fee was $60 for muzungus and there were no student discounts. As we passed through the main gates, the morning sun was rapidly becoming brighter and brighter.

After driving through numerous baboons sitting with their red penises sticking out, we reached the muddy shore of the blue and pink Lake Nakuru. Yes, blue and PINK. Hundreds of pink flamingos had formed a pink carpet over the lake, which covered a significant percentage of this placid body of water. I blankly stared at the pink carpet under the early morning sun, for minutes on end.

Drove into the savanna where we saw jumpy antelopes, grazing rhinos, feasting hyenas and giraffes running in slow-mo. The view of the park from the tall Baboon Cliff was spectacular. I couldn't get John Williams's Jurassic Park theme out of my mind...

I ate a banana, 2 slices of toast, a few biscuits and half a protein bar for breakfast on-the-go.

In the middle of the park, there was an air strip for rich safari-lovers. I wonder how they clear the animals before a charter plane lands...

When we reached the Southeastern corner of the Lake, we noticed 3 giraffes running in single file. Ivan told us that this scene was unusual. It looked like they were trying to escape from something. We left the designated track and on to rough terrain. Followed the giraffes footsteps in reverse and came across a handsome leopard! Ivan had been to this park dozens of times, but had never seen a leopard before. They are more difficult to spot than lions, because they tend to hide on trees amidst thick branches. Ironically though, we didn't get to see any lions.

I should have bought that long lens at Yalcinlar (Turkish chain of photography stores)... It is essential for wildlife photography.

When we were driving away from the Park after spending more than 3.5 hours there, I realized that this park had gotten me as excited as Angor Wat in Cambodia or Palmyra in Syria had.

Next stop was the Menegai Crater. The only thing that can be said about it is that it was HUGE. However it was far from what the word "crater" had evoked in my mind. There was no water in it, only a dark patch of lava remains, and the surrounding nature was bland.

In life, one has to enjoy as many things as possible. Be it speaking articulately, gently pressing down your finger as you are taking a special photograph or just eating. All of these simple things can be carried out with style and hence with pleasure.

In town, we had lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant right across from the Merica Hotel. Although the building was well-maintained, the food was below average. No wonder why it wasn't included in the Lonely Planet...

Michael the Cab Driver brought us back to Mission in Action (the name of Ivan's orphanage). Milena and I spent a good portion of the early evening transferring photos into each other's memory devices.

For dinner, we had instant noodles and buns with marmite (an Australian vegetable-based spread). As we were eating, Martha, one of the managers of Mission in Action, was explaining the developments of the day. A crazy mother was planning to sue the Mission for taking away her child. However, Ivan had all the required legal documents.

Internet was down and I was exhausted. Couldn't understand half of Churchill Live (a Saturday Night Live equivalent), as the guy kept switching between English and Swahili.

I believe we will bump into the Rescue Team sometime within the next few days. When we do, I will mock them hard, and Naomi will not be spared.
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ozenalp on

I'm quite lost here as to how you were 'kicked out' of the camp.

Seems like you are putting in all you have, possibly even more than you can physically and mentally handle..

The 'drama' scene is quite familiar; people can not handle change or the efforts to make it better. (Better-in terms of how we view things/the way we are used to.)
Excuse me if I'm way too off the topic here as I'm in no place to make comments on life so far/distant to what I have here... Still, the rationale behind all acts against you remains to be the 'one' that we experience every day, in every part of our lives...

I'm glad that you are lucky enough to experience amazing scenes at Lake Nakuru and go through the burden of trying to cause a change. I believe That was what you wished for initially, deep inside.

Will be waiting for your next post.

Cheers from Istanbul, take care and be safe.

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