Safari, snakes, and spaghetti!

We had an AMAZING safari last week with the kids, thanks to Marie, Mama Marie, and the donors. The kids were excited for days in advance – we frequently take them on a small safari (safari ndogo) in the afternoon, down to the local field or the store. This was their BIG safari (safari kubwa), and they couldn’t have been more psyched! On Mama Pendo’s advice, we went to two locations for our trip – first a snake park out towards Maasai country, then to Meru Game Lodge, a local place, for lunch. Due to some communication confusion, my mom, Patty, Adam, Riz and Claire ended up at the wrong snake park – but not to fear, they met us at the game lodge later. 
In their gorgeous donated FredsWorld clothes!

The kids got all dressed up in their beautiful new clothes, all organic, donated by Fredsworld in Denmark – thanks so much! As you can see, they looked even more stunning than they do every day – they loved the bright colors and soft fabrics.

The snake park was fantastic – the kids were allowed in for free, and they created a tour just for us, personalized to the kids and in Swahili and English so the volunteers could understand too! The kids got to see crocs, tons of snakes, and touch turtles – and then the brave few got a chance to hold a snake themselves!

It was so funny to see who stepped forward – Zi and Abdulli were hesitant but ok with the snake, Simoni, Andrea, and David LOVED it, and Pray was utterly terrified and refused to go near it! Just goes to show that despite his tough exterior, he’s still a regular four year old underneath. Mama Pendo was NOT thrilled when the snake guy draped it around her neck, but she held up like a champ! Wish I had space to post each of the photos here – more will be up on our Facebook page, please be sure to check it out and Like it to keep up with all the content that doesn’t fit on the main page!

Then we went through a small exhibit showing traditional Maasai life, and into the camel rides area. Marie and I volunteered to take two kids at a time each to ride the camels. Again, it was funny to see who the takers were – Loveness, unexpectedly, LOVED the camels and the whole process, as did Baracka. Teacher Emerte then girded her loins and got up on the camel too – so proud!
After that we moved on to Meru Game Lodge – although the drive was notable as it passed the Arusha air field, which was HUGELY exciting in and of itself to the kids. They adore planes and get excited every time one passes overhead – getting to see them land and take off as we drove by was possibly the highlight of the day. Who knew? Anyway, we eventually arrived back at the Game Lodge, and had a great time. One large antelope in particular was very interested in the kids and kept coming right up to the ledge to get petted and sniff at their hands. They also saw zebras, ostrich, and some monkeys leaping through the trees – check out Adam and Zi’s faces as they catch a peek!

Mama Pendo helping
the kids with their pasta

They had a fantastic time and were extremely well behaved – a few guests were very kind and played with the kids, as well, although we kept them away unless the guests said they were ok with it! Then the food arrived – spaghetti all around, delicious. We had a bit of a fuss at the end of the day when we went to pay – we had spoken to a manager previously about getting a discount on the food, because it was for the orphanage kids and we were ordering so much. However, the person on duty was extremely rude and unwilling to work with us at all. After a good fifteen minutes of back and forth, an extremely kind guest whose daughter had been playing with the kids all day stepped in and offered to pay the entire bill! The staff was a little shame-faced, and we were extremely grateful. More money for groceries, vitamins, formula, staff salaries, nappies, and all the other bits and pieces that gobble up the orphanage budget each month. He declined to be named so that we could thank him publicly – but if you are reading this, we are profoundly thankful. 

Internet has continued to be difficult but I have MUCH more to tell and show, and the kids are thriving. A few quick notes – our little guy Ebenezer is really struggling, he has a bad pneumonia and needs IV treatment every few hours. We’re working on some long term ideas to prevent this kind of thing from happening – more information to come, I promise. We’re thrilled with Stine and Peter and all of the other amazing volunteers we’ve had lately, including Sarah, Jacqueline, AnneMarie, and everyone else. Soon a post dedicated to them! Chicken coop is almost done and chicks are hatching, they’re such cute little puffballs at this age! Solar panels are coming, some bank problems are holding things back but it should be settled soon. Phew, it’s going to be a busy couple of weeks… but I can’t wait!

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