Zuri Watoto Wote

Winding down the trip…with good food, good fun and more!

Posted in AIDS Orphans, Nyumbani, poverty in Kenya by Lynn Ouellette on 02/10/2013
Up close and personal...

Up close and personal....
Up close and personal….

So I am home now but there is still a lot that I want to share about our trip. We worked very hard on the trip, in fact it became a running joke that the definition of free time was having 3 free hours with only 6 hours of work to do in them! I have to say that we accomplished an enormous amount and it all felt tremendous.We did however save a little time for fun and relaxation at the end. The drive back from Nyumbani Village was very scenic and enjoyable as we were once again able to see beautiful countryside with mountains and terraced gardens or just people carrying on with life in Kenya.

DSC_6733

DSC_6744

DSC_6753

However, the best things that we did on the drive back from Nyumbani Village was to stop at Wamunyu Carvers and the Giraffe Park. We had stopped at the carvers last year and I think it will now become a regular tradition. It is a men’s cooperative of gifted carvers who make many things out of wood and are fascinating to watch since many of the tools they use are larger than the delicate animals they carve….and they all start with a log!

L1010402

One of the carvers working on a giraffe

Working on a giraffe

Working on a giraffe

L1010405

Story of Wamunyu Carvers

Story of Wamunyu Carvers

Not only do you get a tour and an opportunity to talk to the carvers, but you also get a chance to then shop from the huge store of hand carved wooden goods at far better prices than you will find anywhere else in Kenya. The only problem is deciding what to buy! Wamunyu carvers is not far from Nyumbani Village, but on the other end of the drive in Karen, just outside of Nairobi, is the Giraffe park where they rehabilitate rescued giraffes and are trying to raise more of the endangered Rothchild’s giraffes in captivity. Those are the species that look like they have on white knee socks. Before we could get to the giraffe park we hit the dreaded traffic pile up near Nairobi and it would have taken us about 3 hours to get through the city. So Justus our trusty driver and friend took us on one of his famous short cuts. This was the back way to avoid all the traffic and get what is affectionately known as a free “African Massage.” We had been on bumpy roads before (there are many in Kenya, but none quite like this one with holes capable of swallowing up half a car!) But it truly was a shortcut with a sense of humor and Justus was our hero once again.

The short cut

The short cut–this wasn’t the worst part, but a part I could hold the camera still enough to shoot

Once we got to the giraffe park the giraffes were being “called” by the park rangers into visit us and so that we could feed them. They weren’t anywhere in sight at first but they gradually made their way toward the gazebo like stand where we were all waiting with a crowd of other people.

You can barely see them here...

You can barely see them here…

and then they got closer

and then they got closer

Then closer

Then closer

Then much closer!

Then much closer!

I even got to feed one!

I even got to feed one!

They were not at all shy about getting close; many of us got to feed them and some people even got giraffe kisses! They are quite beautiful animals up close .

DSC_6843

Beautiful animals!

This ended our fun on the way home from Nyumbani Village and everyone had first and foremost on their minds getting to the Spurwing guest house for the night where we knew we could take a long-awaited shower and would have something, anything other than Village food, for dinner. Having stayed in a cluster house with no electricity and no running water under hot conditions and having been running around in the red Kenyan soil for the week too, we were all feeling like a shower would be so heavenly. Having stayed at Spurwing in the past and knowing that they are good friends of Lloyd assured us of a great meal as well so we were in high spirits. We all emerged for dinner a little giddy with joy from being clean again. The following day we had on our agenda–packing–our personal things including all the things we had bought for souvenirs and gifts, finishing the distribution of donated items, and packing up the purchased Tuko Pamoja items to fly home with us all in duffels weighing less than but as close to 50 lbs as possible. We had another stop to make at the Children’s Home and I had a meeting with Lilian to debrief her about all the patients I had seen. We were however also scheduled to do something fun and relaxing that day by visiting the Kiambethu tea farm in Limuru, a wonderful place to learn about growing tea, see the gorgeous tea fields, drink tea, and have a delicious lunch of homemade food.

DSC_6898

Entrance to the Kiambethu Tea Farm

Tea Fields

Tea Fields

Perfectly sectioned tea fields

Perfectly sectioned tea fields

The garden at the Tea Farm

The garden at the Tea Farm

The house at the tea farm

The house at the tea farm

All of us being entertained by the Colobus monkeys on the roof

All of us being entertained by the Colobus monkeys on the roof

A very welcome lunch at the tea farm

A very welcome lunch at the tea farm

Going to the Kiambethu Tea House is a lovely relaxing experience. Fiona, the owner, gives a talk on the history of the farm and the history of tea growing in Kenya which is the largest exporter of tea in the world. Upon first arrival there are tea and biscuits on the veranda to go with her talk about how tea is grown and processed. Then there is a walk through the neighboring deciduous woods followed by juice wine or cocktails before lunch. Lunch is served outside on the lawn and is wonderful and homemade with lots of fresh garden vegetables especially enjoyable for us vegetarian types. And for dessert ice cream made from milk from the cows they refer to as the “ice cream makers”. And the delicious tea that we were served can also be purchased at a steal to take home.

After the tea farm we went back to finish up a few more things as most of us, all but Lloydie and Deb, would be departing that night. I had made arrangements to meet with Lilian at the Children’s Home for debriefing and still had one very important delivery to do there as well. I had to deliver a letter and more importantly hugs to Hannah from her sponsors Emma and Marie back in my home town. And then, of course it was irresistible to visit the other children who we hadn’t seen since last weekend even if we were interrupting their dinner–we just couldn’t help ourselves!

Hannah with a letter and picture from Emma

Hannah with a letter and picture from Emma

L1010520

L1010504L1010507

Kid's shoes of one household

Kid’s shoes of one household

And so this was our last day in Kenya–a day with a little relaxation and lots of beauty to remind us of all of this country has to offer, a day of some hard goodbyes, yet we’ll be back next year, a day of already reminiscing about this amazing trip and work well done and already planning new things for the next one. I’ll keep blogging about this one for a while since I have a couple thousand photos and parts of the trip I haven’t shared yet. Thank you all to my fellow travelers and volunteers and especially the most incredible Lloydie Zaiser, my soul sister (even if she doesn’t know the definition of free time 🙂

Maize grows everywhere!

Maize grows everywhere!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: