We had been in our new home now for 3 months since first jumping straight in. We spent Christmas with the kids, and were so blessed to have our friends and family send such generous donations to raise enough money to give a gift to all the kids in both locations of Happy Life (check out our Christmas post and video from last year on our old blog!). We even celebrated the new year on the roof/laundry room with a few of the older kids and a volunteer friend of ours who comes often from Iceland, who had brought some sparklers. And there went three months! Our time had gone so quickly, spending our days feeding babies, playing with toddlers, and blowing a LOT of bubbles.
Back when we first decided to move to Kenya, a few of our friends planned to come and visit us. And, right after the new year, Erica, one of our friends and Laura’s old roommate, planned a trip to visit us for a week. This would be our first vacation since being in Kenya, and after spending every day around 50 kids under the age of 3, you start looking forward to that time away with adults. So, we planned a 3 night trip around the area, and spent the rest of our time locally in Nairobi. Some of Michael’s friends were gracious enough to host us and Erica during our time in Nairobi, and other friends-of-friends let us rent their vehicle for us to use to travel around Kenya.
So we headed off on our adventure with Erica, and the first stop was “the Arc” in a game park near the town of Nyeri, a place Michael had gone as a child more than once. Here, you spent the night in an actual Arc-shaped building.. think Noah’s arc.. with comfy rooms and a huge 4 floor viewing area in front of a popular watering hole for elephants, hyena’s, cape buffalo, and several other animals. They even had alarms that would buzz your room a certain number of times depending on the animal throughout the night. We got a buzz for a cheetah JUST as we were turning in for the night. The three of us RAN to the viewing area and stood, confused, with the other guests who had also rushed out of their rooms. Turns out someone mistook the “alarm” for a light switch! So bummed, but we did see a ton of amazing animals up close while we were there… so we’ll call it a win.
We then travelled to one of the more popular cities 4 hours outside of Nairobi, called Nakuru… after a few wrong turns. They have one of the larger game parks in Kenya, and the biggest conservation of black and white rhino in the country. We were lucky enough to see both types while we were there, a very rare sight! And finally spent one night near a popular lake called Naivasha at the Kiangazi House, a very beautiful lodge that had a private game reserve. We got the unique experience to spend an evening at a camp fire in the game park surrounded by the wild animals, while sipping a cold Tusker (the local beer), and a glass of wine (don’t worry, we were with our trusty guide, and there was only one lion in the park.. he didn’t make many appearances).
We spent the rest of the week with Erica in Nairobi, going to crazy restaurants that served wild animal meats (ostrich, crocodile, ox balls, to name a few… and yes, we tried them all.. I don’t recommend ox balls..), visiting some animal orphanages around the area, and picking up a few goodies to bring back (we brought a LOT back). The break was amazing, and just what we needed, because soon we would be back, helping with not only the babies at the Children’s Home, but also their second location in the bush (no joke, the drive is a hour down a dirt road), and a local non-profit of some now close friends of ours.
How could you pick one picture of these ADORABLE baby elephants?! Look at him trying to get out of the water!!! AH I die.
uhhh.. yes, that is an elephant sitting down..
Michael developed a slight obsession with birds while we were in Kenya..
Let’s play spot the Rhino..
And off to Kiangazi
Beer and bonfires in the game park..
Our breakfast view..
We love you Erica, thanks for coming to visit us.. allowing us to finally be a tourist.. and get a little taste of home! xoxo