Picking myself up off the ground, brushing off as much of the dust as I could, my initial thoughts were those of embarrassment. Getting injured abroad is a worry, but this time I discovered my ability to carry on regardless, as well as the amazing services of the NHS back in the UK.
A line of the cutest baby elephants elephants comes running towards me from out of the brush. With huge ears flapping, they race down the slope like a bunch of toddlers excited to see what Santa has brought. At the Nairobi nursery of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you can enjoy getting up close to some adorable babies.
The grateful smiles, the offers of eternal friendship, and those overwhelming emotions are things that every volunteer comes to know. But, this time, I was blessed merely be being the courier of someone else’s goodwill, at the Tujiinue Youth Group car wash.
On 20th March, I celebrated the opening of new premises with the children of Future Stars. I bought soda for everyone and then we danced late into the night.
Back in January, we lost 50 children from Future Stars due to ‘overcrowding’. Now we have new rooms. There are plenty of plans for future expansion that I hope will be reality very soon.
I’m instantly greeted by a beautiful giraffe. Her head brushes against my shoulder and her long blue tongue flicks out to explore for treats. I grab a handful and hold the pellets out one by one, rewarded each time by its gentle removal from my fingers. I’m at The African Fund For Endangered Wildlife, more commonly known as the Giraffe Centre.
Many tears were shed on departing Kenya once again. But I’m only leaving one home for another, and it’s not really ‘goodbye’. It’s ‘mpaka baadaye Kenya’.
The opportunity to spend time with some of the children of Future Stars whilst also teaching them a few simple crafts has been so much fun. My first ‘creative arts’ session involved the school children from class 1 to class 5. The second was for all the children who live at the centre.
Need to know how to remove a snake from your home? Or handle a bite? Just two of the things I learned at the Nairobi Snake Park (which actually houses more than just snakes!)