When I was two years old, and my sister Gabby was two months old, we went to Kenya for around two months. We have friends who live in Kenya, so we visited them while we were there. We always promised we would come back again, so I have grown up looking forward to our return to Africa. It has always been a bit of a mystery to me, as I have felt like a piece of it was in my heart, but I don’t remember most of it. Finally, this year we made it back, just for a week and a half, after we went to England. It’s been a while. I think I would like to revisit the trip. Would you like to step into East Africa with me for a little bit? Here are some stories from our time in Kenya. Because this was a family adventure, I thought it should be a family trip report as well, so my sister Zoe, and my brother Jack will tell you some stories as well.
Zoe: I think my favourite part of our wonderful trip to Kenya was meeting Dorothy and her family. We flew to her village in our friend Ryan’s MAF plane. Jack will write more about that later. After a 1 hour flight we landed, sending animals scattering from the airstrip where they were hanging out. We then went on a wild, bumpy ride to the church where we met Dorothy face to face for the first time. We have been writing to her for years. I can remember feeling really nervous- I don’t know why. When she came, we had the opportunity to practise our Swahili, and for her, her English. Then we went to her house. Another bumpy ride! It was amazing though because when we got there, her whole village came to see us. We hadn’t brought much. Just ourselves and some food for her family. But everyone was so happy to see us. On the way back, our van was pursued by kids just coming back from school. Then, when we got back, we played a game of soccer with Dorothy, her dad and some of the workers and children. After lunch, they presented us with their traditional Maasai cloth. We were also asked to plant a tree. The plane back was another beautiful ride.
Jack: On the holidays, we went to Kenya to see our friends, the Cuthels. Ryan Cuthel is a Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) pilot, so we were able to go on a flight in his plane. I really enjoyed meeting him as well as the actual plane ride because I want to be a MAF pilot like him when I grow up. Ryan allowed me to sit in the cockpit where the view was amazing with mountains, valleys, rivers, giraffes, zebras, and elephants. Although, I didn’t actually see it. I was too short, but the others told me. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Ryan showed me the controls, and how the plane worked. That was my favourite part of our trip to Kenya, although I also enjoyed meeting Dorothy, the game drives, the national park, museum, and snake park- but those are stories for another time.
Trudy: I wouldn’t really say I’m an animal person. But for whatever reason, I have always loved elephants. Maybe because of the toy elephant I have had since I was little (my parents bought it in London, on our way back home from our first trip to Kenya). Or maybe simply because I am in awe of their lumbering grace. They are very majestic, solemn, beautiful creatures. On our safaris in Kimana Sanctuary and Amboseli National Park, we saw dozens of elephants. Getting close enough we could almost touch him, we watched one as it ate, unperturbed by our disruption to the peace. Another time, we watched as a mother and her calf played and looked adoringly at each other. We saw so many elephants; it was incredible. We also got to see one of the few “Tuskers” in the park; one with enormous tusks that scraped the ground at his feet. They look like such wise creatures; I’m sure they don’t forget a thing. While we were a disturbance to the serenity of the landscape, they went on with life. Do they always choose peace like this, or are they simply used to the coming and going of tourists? It was wonderful to be able to see so many elephants. It is amazing how beautiful they can look while still being described as big-eared and long-nosed. Insulting descriptions, for their appearance is magnificent.
We saw elephants, but also many zebra, warthogs, impalas, elands, wildebeest, hippos, various birds …and giraffes. Another animal I find amazing. Perhaps, because of the toy giraffe Gabby got when I got my elephant. Or perhaps because one of my first memories is of feeding the giraffes at the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi when I was two. Or perhaps because of their gangly grace as they traipse across the plains. Seeing all of the giraffe while on safari, and then again at the Giraffe Centre, was a highlight of all the beauty we saw in Kenya.
Our trip to Kenya was an adventure. But it was also a time to soak up the beauty around us.