August 7, 2011

A fair note of mischievousness

Anjuli brought the sun from Bondo to Nairobi again to spend this weekend with me and Laura. At some moments I am overcome with the wild implausiblity and extraordinary nature of three friends drinking tea a half-globe way from Seattle. But the majority of times it feels perfectly natural to cook dinner, cavort, and simply sip tea together. Lots of tea. Yummm tea. As Jake aptly put it, home becomes the company that you keep, the place where your people are.

Today we took another tourist excursion to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where they raise baby elephants that have been orphaned and ultimately re-release them into the wild. Apparently, they have discovered that tourists are a litigious bunch:

Elephants are orphaned when their mothers are die at the hands or ivory poachers or from natural causes like droughts, and they do extremely poorly as orphans in the wild. Even in the conservatory, they need constant nurturing and attention. They are all fed a milk formula from bottles, and the really young ones (the youngest currently at the Trust is 3.5 months old) have keepers that stay with them 24 hours a day, including sleeping along side them in the stables! Perhaps the above warning is appropriate given that the babies like to suck/chew on people's hands, similar to infant thumb sucking. Not that the trainers are much heeding that advice...

They also like to toss dirt in the air, with a fair note of mischievousness.

And to snuggle/wrestle with each other. There are 11 elephants currently at the trust, ranging from 3.5 months to about 2 years, and they split them into 2 groups by age. Apparently the smaller one here (pictured below) was supposed to stay in the younger group, but she's so attached to the bigger one (they were rescued at a similar time) that when the bigger one graduated to the older group, they had to bring the young one along as well so she wouldn't be sad.

We also saw a rousing (sort of) game of soccer (football) between one of the elephants and a pack of warthogs.

After the elephants was a trip down Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep in Out of Africa) memory lane, but first a surprise detour to say hello to some nit-picking gorillas. Gotta stay groomed!

And finally, the most delicious curry-buffet lunch ever consumed, in the beautiful Karen Blixen gardens. Western menu prices and chalk-full of mzungus (white people/foreigners) with some vaguely uncomfortable reminders of the colonial days, but out-of-this-world food.

And delightful company.

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