Sorry we haven't posted in a while the internet here has been on the fritz for about a week... Wasn't great to begin with but we'll try to get a bunch on this week.
The last two weekends here in Africa have been packed full of travel, fun, and Jodi and I getting to see many different pieces of Kenya that make this country unique and special.
Starting with last weekend, the 16th and 17th, we made trips into Nairobi and down to Old Kijabe Town. On Saturday we went into Nairobi to visit Valarie’s parents, whom I had never met, and they were kind enough to show us some of the highlights of tourism in Nairobi and spend the day hanging out with us. When we first got there we hurried off to the elephant orphanage, in Nairobi’s game park, which only allows visitors for an hour on Saturday mornings. It was fun seeing the twenty orphaned baby elephants, aged two months to three years, playing around in the mud with their keepers, who take turns staying with them 24/7 acting as a surrogate mother. Jodi got some close up shots with the elephants and was even stepped on by one… good thing it was a three month old and not very heavy. After we got our fill of baby elephants, we headed off to the nearby giraffe center which is also apart of Nairobi’s game park. Here we were to get up close to the giraffes in an unusual fashion. The place has a viewing deck that is built up to head level with the giraffes and the keepers here strongly encouraged feeding the giraffes little grain pellets. These pellets must have been like candy because as long as we had them in had the giraffe was our best friend, and this again allowed us to take some fantastic up close pictures with the critters. The giraffe tongue is extremely long and sticky, so after it had completely enveloped my hand with slim one of the keepers and I were able to coax Jodi into placing a pellet into her mouth and feeding the giraffe that way. She eventually did and I was poised to take a picture but failed to capture the exact moment when the giraffe was “kissing” her… so she had to do it again! Haha!! She was a good sport and gave it another shot and this time I was able to catch the giraffe’s tongue completely covering her face. After Jodi cleaned her face off we headed to an Ethiopian restaurant, which is one of the Mercer’s favorites, to grab a late lunch. Mark, Valerie’s dad, ordered food for us since we had no clue what kind of food Ethiopians ate. The food was brought out on something like a 20” pizza pan which had thin sour dough bread made of rice lining the bottom with all the various types of food in piles placed strategically on top. Along with the pan of food came more of the thing rice bread rolled up because it is with that bread that you eat your food; evidently Ethiopians have never heard of silverware. The various meat and vegetable piles were quite delicious and very filling. That concluded the main events of our day with the Mercers in Nairobi and Jodi and I were vary thankful to have someone show us such a good time.
On Sunday we were in for an entirely different kind of adventure and we made the 45min trek down to Old Kijabe Town to go to church with Mama Joshua (our house lady). The long walk down the hillside led us through some beautiful bush country and if it had not been for Mama J’s brother guiding us we probably would not have know which of the narrow paths to take. When we arrived to the town I was at first reminded of and old west town with its row of modest shops lining the main road and the small, mostly single room, houses made of wood, tin, and mud that dotted the countryside. We went to the local Baptist church for worship that morning and enjoyed a new type of service to us filled with energetic singing and praise to God, and an enthusiastic sermon which covered the 2nd chapter of Genesis. The service lasted for a little more than two hours and for Americans who usually start tapping their watches at the hour mark this service had us so engaged that we hardly realized the time that had passed. The people of the church were extremely friendly and we enjoyed worshiping God in a foreign manner that morning. After the service we went to Mama J’s house nearby where she had prepared a rather large meal for us consisting of traditional Kenyan foods. We ate our fill, which was hardly half of what she prepared, and then visited with her and her family for a couple of hours. Again, they were also very nice; Kenyans consider it the highest honor to have friends over to their houses. We then made the hour long trek back up the hill, which took some doing with a full stomach, and by the time we arrived back home at 5 we were thoroughly wiped out.