Monday, April 5, 2010

April 5, 2010 - EWE (Easter Weekend Events)

We decided not to go away for our long weekend and took the opportunity to do a couple of things that we had never done in Nairobi before; we also spent three days of our weekend with different Nairobi friends. It was a really great way to spend a holiday weekend and today we are enjoying doing a whole lot of nothing at home.

On Friday we went to the Windsor Golf Hotel & Country Club with Grace's friend Hayley and her family (her mom is my friend Miriam with big sister Charlotte and dad Murray). The weather wasn't so good in the morning but we were there until the afternoon and enjoyed swimming in a VERY warm pool. The food was great and Kristoffer found a new squash partner in Murray. It was very close to our house and was a really nice place to spend the day.

Saturday was a slightly bigger trip. We drove to Naivasha (a little over an hour north of Nairobi - you'll notice if you've read our blog for awhile that we go to Naivasha a lot) with our neighbors to visit the Crescent Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Lake Naivasha. Crescent Island is actually a peninsula but depending on the water level can look like an island. We drove to the Lake Naivasha Country Club from where we took a 5 minute boat ride out to the sanctuary. With a guide, we then spent 2 hours on a walking safari! There are no predators or dangerous animals (big cats, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, etc.), except for some pythons which don't come out during the day, and so with our guide we were very comfortable walking around the crescent and enjoying the beautiful scenery and wildlife.

We saw many, many, many impala (and gazelles too but they are not pictured here)...
and some fighting waterbuck (a large type of antelope)...
but really the bulk of our safari was all about the giraffes. We have fed giraffes at the Giraffe Center a few times before which is the closest you can get to giraffes and is an incredible experience, although those particular giraffes are almost domesticated. Out in the wild we have seen hundreds of giraffes on safari before which have also been great experiences. But nothing can quite compare to tracking giraffes on foot and actually walking around with them.

At first we watched them from a good distance...
and then we decided to walk closer...
and closer...
...and we were able to get up really close to a 2-week old giraffe. You'll notice her umbilical cord is still hanging. Good thing for us that giraffes make particularly bad mothers and don't pay too much attention about protecting their young from picture-taking Americans. (I promise we weren't close enough to threaten the giraffe in any way...)
I like that this picture shows the giraffe baby with my baby!
We followed them for close to an hour. Our guide, Moses, knows the giraffes very well because he walks around the island with them every day. At one point I think we were only 50 ft away.
I love this one showing an adult giraffe with four kids. They are incredibly beautiful animals up close.
It became really fun to try to take as many poses as possible with giraffes close in the background. Here, Grace was happy to be let out of her carrier and walk a little. We used to think she was really small...but compared to even the baby giraffe she seemed tiny!
The Hartwell Family...
Grace and her best buds, Mae and Ben...
Mae (almost 9) loves, loves, loves Grace and Grace loves, loves, loves Mae right back!
Grace had a pretty good time playing with Ben (almost 10) too...
The fun really started when we let Grace play in the grass by herself (don't worry...it was completely safe...). Some day when she is older and doesn't quite know what we mean when we say she was born in Africa, we'll show her these once-in-a-lifetime pictures.
Could this be any sweeter?
Grace even let our guide Moses hold her for some giraffe poses...

As it is the rainy season now there was an afternoon storm coming in and so when the clouds started to get dark we started to head away from the giraffes to catch our boat back to the country club. In the future, when I think back to these years in Nairobi...I will think of this moment as a way to remember my Africa.
Almost back to the boat when we came across some more giraffes!
Apparently they couldn't get enough of us...
Grace enjoyed a little more goofing around with Sam and the kids before we went back for a late afternoon lunch at the country club...

Soon it was Easter Sunday! While I was at church, the Easter Bunny showed up (a little late, but that's Africa for you...) and hid Easter eggs around our living room (it was raining outside). Then Mae and Ben came over to help Grace hunt for eggs. This was a nice tradition to share with them after celebrating a Passover Seder at their house last Monday. Grace liked the Easter goodies that Nene & Pops and Aunt Meghan and her gang sent from the US. We wanted to dye Easter eggs but there are no white eggs in Kenya and it seemed weird to try and dye brown eggs - bummer! I think Grace's favorite part of the morning was throwing all the plastic eggs into the fire place once they were all emptied.



Later in the afternoon we went to Easter dinner with a different group of friends. Grace was a very good girl and willingly shared her toys with her friend Apollo (10 months) for the first time. This was especially impressive given that we are trying to wean Grace and she has been a little bit fussy and clingy (more on that later...). Kristoffer and I felt very proud of her on Easter.

Happy belated Easter to you...how many giraffes did you see?!
LMW

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