Thursday, January 22, 2009

Connecting with Kenya #4

YMI East Africa Director, Sylvester Onyango is visiting the US next week. In 2007 I spent 3 weeks in Kenya, so the next few posts are dedicated to some of the journal entries from that trip...

• We got up at 5:30am to get ready for our morning game drive…we grabbed some coffee and then headed to our land cruiser to head out into the Mara to see what we could find.

• It didn’t take long and we came upon another pride of lions…this time though there were 4 huge males and 2 large females just hanging out right next to our vehicle! Their paws were gigantic and I was just amazed as I stood there looking at them! There was a heard of about 100 buffalo about 200 yards away but they weren’t interested at all…they did have an interesting stare down with a hyena though that was pretty funny to watch…guess who won that one?

• We then drove all over the place looking for things and saw a ton of different kinds of animals…
o Zebra
o Buffalo
o Wildebeest
o Jackals
o Foxes
o Vultures
o Hyenas
o Monkeys
o Secretary Birds
o Giraffes
o Elephants

• As we were driving along we saw another pride of Lions, this time they were gathered around the carcass of a wildebeest having breakfast…they were chomping away, and it was amazing how they were sharing and taking care of each other with the catch.

• It was funny because just over the ridge we could see the lower species on the food chain beginning to gather to get some scraps that might be left behind…hyenas & vultures waited patiently as the lions pulled and ripped and chewed…The food chain at work.

• As I’m writing this I just heard a loud snort and it sounds like a hippo is nearby! God’s creation is amazing!

• On the afternoon game drive we were taken about an hour away to the border of Tanzania (we actually crossed into Tanzania for a little while) to a section of the Mara river where the hippos & crocodiles hang out and wait for the migration of wildebeest to cross…when we drove up to the river bank the smell was pretty pungent and then I realized why…there were hippos and crocks in the water surrounded by bodies of wildebeest…there were about 20 carcasses just laying in the water…Jonathon told us that over 10,000 animals were killed in the migration this year as they tried to cross the river! We then went a little further down the river to a bridge and as we got close to the river the smell of death was not only pungent, it was RANK!

I’m talking about the worst smelling stench imaginable! We continued onto the bridge and soon found out why…there were hundreds of carcasses strewn as far as you could see. In among the bodies were hippos and crocodiles hanging out enjoying the spoils of a successful migration (from their perspective)…I then looked to the other side of the bridge and there were several hundred dried up carcasses and bones everywhere. It was an incredible sight to see and smell.

• We then turned around and left the area for a sweeter smelling section of the Mara…it wasn’t long and we came upon a family of Giraffes grazing on some very tall trees…it was fun watching them leisurely stroll about the meadow (what a difference between them and the crocks and even the Lions)…while I was getting some video of them Jonathon said “hey, there’s a Rhino!” sure enough there he was in the bush just walking around…they are very hard to find, but we saw him for short time and then he was gone…it was definitely the top find of the day!

• We got back to the lodge and attended a Massai Tribal presentation and lecture which was very interesting!

• After the presentation we headed for bed and enjoyed a good night’s sleep!


• We got up at 5:30am to get ready for our morning game drive…grabbed some coffee and we were on our way.

• While I was drinking my coffee a man asked if he could sit down and join me, so I said “sure have a seat”…we struck up a conversation and I found out that his name is Hassan and he is from Egypt…It was fun talking with him about what we do with YMI and learning a little bit about his culture…I’ve met some interesting people on this trip…people from, Wales, Germany, Japan, New Mexico, India, Massai Tribal Warriors, and I even met a Swami from Pakistan who is in Nairobi doing a “Swami thing”, whatever that means…It’s been an amazing intro to various cultures…One thing is for sure, we were all fascinated by God’s creation on the safari!

o The game drive started and it wasn’t long and we came upon another pride of lions enjoying their breakfast (they seem to really enjoy wildebeest)…it was awesome to watch the power that these animals possess, no wonder they are the king of the beasts!

• After the game drive was over we packed our gear and went to the airstrip to catch our flight back to Nairobi.

• We landed safely and were taken back to the Safari Park Hotel where we’ll spend the night and fly out tomorrow night back home!

• It has been an incredible 3 weeks in Kenya! I’ve seen God at work in many ways, and it has been a privilege to take part in His work! Africa is known as the dark continent, that’s true…but it’s my prayer that God will continue to use his people to shine His light here, so many will be drawn to Him!

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