Tuesday, January 22nd, 2002

Nanyuki, Kenya

This sanctuary is home to Jane Goodall's orphans who have been rescued from poor living conditions. Most of the chimps here are from Burundi.

Our first week Kenya was spent in Nanyuki, which was a really nice place to get used to Africa. It is really close to Mt Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa, and the landscape is lush and gorgeous. At this camp we had hot running water (well, not always hot, but always running). This was a nice treat instead of our portable tree shower.


Our days begin with the dawn chorus which call all the ornithologists for their early morning bird walks (We are talking 6am here). The sunrise behind Mount Kenya provides the perfect backdrop for the non-birders as they “enthusiastically” head for the breakfast table. Within minutes after breakfast the entomologists (bug people) are out collecting their specimens as the anthropologists head out to socialize with the locals.


Our days here in Nanyuki have been filled with soccer, Frisbee, rugby/exploratory walks, numerous “name games”, star gazing, and campfires…oh yeah, we have had a couple of classes too. It’s definitely going to be a challenge to study in this environment full of exciting distractions. Why read about it when we can experience it?!?!


We ventured into town a few times which allowed us to interact with the locals, which was initially quite a shock and gave us an insight to their life and how poor the country/community is. A lot of them ask for pens or money for “school”. Everyone tends to tell you personal stories, which make you feel guilty and want to buy everything they are selling… their carvings etc are beautiful but you can’t help everyone. Bartering has been quite the experience… I managed to buy a giraffe carving, a bit under a foot tall, for the equivalent of $3 Canadian and 2 pens!


Some locals came to meet us from the organization AMREF (African medical research and education foundation) to tell us about themselves and to learn from us. They help youth find jobs and straighten out their lives. Really interesting. Afterwards we organized a soccer game with them….making sure to mix the teams up seeing as the African's would of easily beat us Canadians! It was really fun…wow are Kenyan’s ever good at soccer!!! Diego and Rafael you guys would have loved to be here!!! :) I was thinking of you 2. They were playing in bare feet and were still dribbling the ball around us! It was great!!


Our most exciting day so far, was our visit to the Ol Pejeta Ranch and Sweetwater Game Reserve… our first game drive…amazing! The Discovery Channel does not do justice to the sights that our eyes beheld. Zebras, giraffes, and rhinos along with elephants, chimps, Thomson’s gazelles, impalas, water buffalo, ostrich, warthogs, and numerous species of birds. Sweetwater’s is where Jane Goodall’s chimps are. The chimps were awesome!!! I took so many pictures of them of course! :) In the reserve we saw a black rhino whose mom had been killed by poachers when he was young so he was kept separate from other animals or he'd be killed… we were allowed to go up to him and touch him! Crazy! He was so rough! and big and had huge horns!!! Don’t worry though, there were armed guards around just in case...  :)


Tomorrow is the first time that we will pack up camp and move off to a new locale. All 60 some tents, equipment and people will be loaded onto our 9 trucks and 3 land-rovers, to move to the next stop on our incredible adventure….



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