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A Special Day with Justus’s Family

Posted in Kenya, Our Kenyan Family by Lynn Ouellette on 02/01/2016

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If you have read any of my posts before, you know that we have a special relationship with Justus who began as our driver in Kenya, but who has become  part of the KEST family, part of Tuko Pamoja, and simply put, part of what makes Kenya for all of us. Because I usually depart before the other volunteers, I had never had the chance to meet his family and neither had Karen. But we spent my last full day in Kenya with Justus and his family driving to Lake Navaisha where we went on a ‘”hippo safari”

When they first arrived, Denzel and Wycliff presented all of us with a letter from each which also had earrings and a magnet in the envelope, and each of us a beautiful bouquet of roses. I was so moved by their presentation and simply meeting all of them that it brought me to tears.

We visited for just a bit before we set off to buy lunch and to get on the road to Lake Navaisha. In celebration of the occasion, we had ice cream before we ate our lunch.DSC_1842

The ride was quite beautiful along the Rift Valley.

And arriving at Lake Navaisha was equally as beautiful!

We then boarded the boats for the hippo safari, a tour through the beautiful lake teaming with birds and other wild life, including, of course, hippos.

The boaters

The hippos

I wasn’t nearly as impressed with the hippos as I was with boat ride itself since the water was full of vegetation and so many birds. It felt like we were going through the bayou for part of the ride.

The entrance to the water

A sampling of the birds we saw.

As we got out further from the shore, the guides pointed out the African Fish Eagle and threw a fish up into the air so it would take flight.

African Fish Eagle

Following our foray with the birds, the boats picked up pace and brought us over to Crescent Island. The island is actually the site where “Out of Africa” was filmed and originally did not have any wildlife. All of the animals that are there were initially brought over  and remained,  but the lion was brought and then removed.

We ate our lunch on the island which was very beautiful and then began a walking safari that was so incredible because we were so close to and amongst the animals.

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We first encountered encountered many zebras. Although we weren’t quite close enough to pat them, we got within 30 yards of them. You may notice that there are some young ones in the group. They were born 3 and 4 months earlier and we had the opportunity to see them playing, frolicking, and even nursing.

The zebras, including the cute young ones.

Many other animals were sited, including a giraffe that was just 4 days old!

We saw many other animals while on the walking tour of the island, but the best part of all was spending time with Justus and his family.

We were there all afternoon, managed to avoid the thunderstorm that was happening in the distance and enjoyed a cool breeze which made it much more comfortable to be there. We headed back on the boats in the midst of different scenery now that it was later in the day.

We did not get into the van to head home until appropriate group pictures had been taken!

The ride home along the Rift Valley was a whole new vista, just as beautiful as earlier, but different as the sun was going down.

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The Rift Valley at Sunset 

When we arrived back at Dimesse Sisters Retreat, that rascal Justus had something up his sleeve. His sister and her family were there to meet us!

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The cousins

We had a really wonderful day together. I was so happy to finally meet Justus’s family. By the end of the day it felt like we were all part of a family. And then, of course, came the hard goodbyes. But we will be in touch by email and as always the goodbyes were really “See you next year!”

I am finishing this blog as I countdown to my flight to go back to the US so please pardon any typos. I depart with such mixed feelings; its so hard to say goodbye to Lloydie, Karen and Deb, too, and to this beautiful country that has filled my heart.

10 Responses

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  1. Megan Culp said, on 02/01/2016 at 10:07 am

    Dear Lynn! Thank you so much for this last and most beautiful blog. What a special day, especially to get to know Justus’ family. Your photos are absolutely stunning. You bless us all with your sharing. Safe travels home…..carrying Kenya with you, I know. You have been in my thoughts and prayers this whole time. Love, Megan

    Like

    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 02/02/2016 at 5:36 am

      Thanks Megan. I know how much everyone loves Justus so really wanted to share this day with everyone who has been here before. I am sitting in Heathrow waiting to take the last flight and hoping that I don’t get caught up in Customs by the sniffing dog like you did! Thanks for reading the blog and following our trip!

      Like

  2. Joe & Mary Ellen D'Agostino said, on 02/01/2016 at 10:11 am

    Lynn: What a wonderful day and your descriptions made it real for us -the readers. Your journey that you shared was incredible. You go home after so many highs…-and that will sustain you as you prepare for your next pilgrimage to Kenya and the people who have come to love you & Lloydie and all the KEST Angels who bring them LOVE! Cheers: Joe & Mary Ellen D’

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lloydie said, on 02/01/2016 at 12:23 pm

    Beautiful post capturing every special moment. Sad to have you leave. Safari jema rafiki! Love you, Lloydie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 02/02/2016 at 5:32 am

      Love and will miss you and the rest of the dynamic KEST quartet! We had a great trip. Thank you!!

      Like

  4. Caroline Triplett said, on 02/02/2016 at 5:50 am

    Lynn,
    Our trip to Kenya has come to an end. Thank you for taking me along. You are a wonderful
    “guide”, teacher and photographer…the next
    best thing to going there myself!
    I will miss our travels together.
    Until next year!
    Caroline Triplett

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 02/02/2016 at 6:04 am

      Thanks Caroline! Glad to have you along and looking forward to traveling together again next year.

      Like

  5. Irma Graf said, on 02/07/2016 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing
    Incredible photos, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Barbara Dallas Sutton said, on 02/13/2016 at 12:56 am

    Thank you, Lynn, for sharing this remarkable day with us. It’s great to meet Justus’ wife and handsome sons. What a wonderful way to spend your last full day in Kenya. Your photos of the land and wildlife are fantastic. Those last two photos of sunset over the Rift Valley are timeless. All memories you will treasure.

    Like


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