Sudan, page 5

Here’s a picture or two of the hotel we were in in Nairobi. It was a far cry from our tents in Aweil, South Sudan. There were crystals hanging in spiraling swirls from the ceiling in the lobby. There was a lobby! And a business center where I could check my email. Somehow, it was too much to try to convince facebook that it was ok for me to log in, the hotel’s computer was way off my home base. I was being charged to be on line by the minute and I didn’t have many minutes to spend in the business center in the first place.
I can’t deny it; indoor, running hot water may be one of the top inventions of all time.
Hot bath, hot shower, oh yeah.
And a night’s sleep without “Coq au Vin” at 5:30 am. Am I spoiled? I guess!
Morning in Nairobi. Our last day in Mother Africa dawns. We’ve got lots of ground to cover.
First stop; brunch. Fresh fruit, coffee, bottled water.
Then it’s into a couple of vans to head to the center of town. Our friend Lynn, the nurse who has been working with the CSI group for several years, has a stop to make and she wants to share it with us. Our vans wind through heavy traffic. We’re off to Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, maybe the largest slum in Africa. Lynn says it’s the largest slum in the world. One million people, 600,000 of them children, in territory the size of Central Park. I’ve never been to a slum, much less perhaps the world’s most large.
After being with the people of South Sudan, and seeing how they survive with nothing, it seems so much saner than how folks get by in this place.
We wind in through the tin shacks and commerce and stop at a door that says “Love is Here”. We cross over some sort of drainage gulley to climb through this door. And yes, love is there. A pristine school yard lays before us. The children, perhaps 75 of them at this event, are all dressed in navy blue V neck sweaters with white blouses and shirts, blue skirts and pants. They enter the courtyard in neat rows and stand at attention.  They sing some songs for us. These are kids who have been born into this slum, with families in crisis mode, with nowhere to go. And here they are, putting on a skit in English that they wrote for Lynn, depicting the help she brought them, thanking her for the money she gave for the food it bought them. Food that has allowed them to not be distracted by hunger so that they can learn. We go to their classrooms. The work on the blackboards shows extremely advanced, critical thinking. Thank you to the “Drug Fighters” Organization for starting and running this school, and to Lynn for her support of them.
We leave the slum area, it takes some time, the roadways are windy and small and we share them with the chickens, the dogs, the folks on foot.
Next stop: The Dr. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust where we see baby elephants who have been orphaned in the wild and saved in this place. There are several of them being presented to us, the first large crowd of white folks I’ve seen in days. The elephants are rust colored, as they are covered with the red dust that makes up the stomping grounds around this, their temporary home. They get the care they need and are slowly worked back into the wild. It is a wonderful place that does great work rescuing wildlife, we all buy sponsorships of one or another of the elephants. We’ll be getting updates on their progress via email.
Next stop: Feed the giraffes. Hello! We climb up to a treehouse balcony and get up close and personal with giraffes. Purple tongues. Lips like some of the characters on the Simpsons. These are some graceful beings.
Next stop: Carnivores. Lunch! All meat all the time. They have a ring of fire over which they roast every kind of animal that is legal to consume. I apologize to all my vegetarian friends. Crocodile, camel, lamb, beef, chicken, ostrich. Etc. After a round or two of this, all I can say is Uncle!
Next stop: I’m gonna take you surfin’ safari. Very close to the outskirts of Nairobi, within sight of the city off in the distance on one edge of these plains, we ride for a couple of hours through bush and over stream. We catch sight of zebra, impala, black rhino, giraffe, Ugandan crested crane, elan, ostrich, those massive black oxen like creatures with the curly horns…
The sun is setting on our day in Nairobi and our time in Africa. There is a mountain range to our west, the sun is going down behind it, we lament not having seen any lions but we are filled to the brim with awe and satisfaction at what we’ve done, seen, and felt over our time spent on this continent. Our plane leaves tonight. We are heading out of the safari “park” when what are we given as a parting shot but two lions resting together on the side of our road. Puurrrrr!
Good night lions, good night mother Africa.

Thank you all so much for coming with me to Africa via these posts.  If anyone has comments or wants to know more about any aspect of all this, including any of the organizations mentioned, you can write me here and I’ll get back to you.

Shebop shebop my babies…


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