Friday, October 28, 2016

Christmas, Giraffes, Elephants and Missionaries

We played Christmas music all day yesterday.  Why so soon?  Because our three amazing sons finished the harvest!  At last!  It's been a long hard haul this year.  (The latest harvest we've ever had ended on November 1).  Our tradition is to play Christmas music over the two-way radio just as harvest is finishing.  Because, as LeRon says, "If we don't have a harvest, we won't have a Christmas!"  Our whole year's income is dependent on the harvest.  So . . . Merry Christmas everyone!

Now back to our mission here in Kenya . . .  LeRon and I took Elder Egbert and Elder Musonda to see the Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Center here in Nairobi which are both very close to where we live.  

Missionaries are allowed one P-day a week.  P-day is a "preparation day" to do laundry, buy groceries, clean house, and see some of the sights close to where they are serving.  Missionaries are great fun to be with.

LeRon and Elder Egbert (from the US) and Elder Musonda (from Zambia) at the Giraffe Center.  The Center was established by a Scottish couple to protect the Rothschild Giraffe which is endangered and is only found in East Africa.  Several pairs of these giraffes have been successfully introduced back into the wild.

Elder Musonda is hugging the giraffe as he feeds it.  So cool to feel the rough, slimy tongue!  Not only fun to feed the giraffes here but you can stay overnight in the mansion on the property.  Giraffes stick their heads into bedroom windows and you can touch and feed them from the privacy of your room!  I hear the rooms cost between $500 and $2000 or more per night!!!

You can hold a food pellet between your lips and the giraffe will grab it with his (or her) tongue.  You get a very slimy kiss.  Yuck.  But a giraffe's saliva is antiseptic so you don't need to worry.  Elder Egbert said it was gross!!

LeRon and I both tried to take a picture of Elder Musonda "kissing" the giraffe but he jumped back too fast and we both missed it.

I had a hard time feeding the giraffe with my hand.  No way was I going to feed it with my mouth!  Every time it got its tongue close to my hand, I screamed and dropped the food pellets.  Don't know what's wrong with me.

What a majestic animal!

Feeding the giraffe by hand is much easier.  Still feels a bit gross!

I'm surprised the giraffe didn't bite Elder Egbert.  Looks like he's poking that giraffe's eye.

A lovely grey heron.

I love the warthogs.  So cool how they kneel as they scrounge in the dirt.  Someone said that the warthog should be our mission mascot as missionaries spend so much time on their knees praying!  But on the other hand, warthog brains are very, very tiny, and missionary brains are definitely not tiny.

Now on to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage which rescues orphaned baby elephants, cares for them, and then re-introduces them into the wild.  Visitors can see them for only one hour per day to minimize contact with humans.  Here I am with Elder Egbert and Elder Musonda.

Look at the wrinkly skin on this baby elephant.  So cute.  I love elephants.

Elder Egbert and Elder Musonda

You can turn the volume off while you watch this short video.  Just people oo-ing and ah-ing over the darling baby elephants.

Now on to the Karen Blixen outdoor restaurant at Tamambo's.  Karen Blixen wrote "Out of Africa", a book of her experiences living in Kenya, which I have not read and don't intend to (after reading about it on Wikipedia!)

Delicious food in a beautiful environment.  It's finally warm enough to eat here without asking for little heaters at our feet.

Elder Egbert loves the foliage here.  So do I.

Elder Musonda arrived in the mission two days after LeRon and I did.  He is Elder Egbert's trainer and is doing a super job.  Missionaries work under a "trainer" for 12 weeks.  Then they are generally transferred and receive different companions to work with. 

Isn't this gorgeous?  I love clouds and trees.

The flowering jacaranda trees are so lovely and smell heavenly.  Better than lilacs.


  1. What a fun post. Thank you for sharing. I don't know what is wrong with you, dropping the feed before the giraffe can get it, but I think I suffer from the same ailment. Well, I have not tried it with a giraffe, but that is what I do when confronted with a deer. Or a goat.

  2. Oh my. I had to laugh about you screaming like a teenage girl. Never thought I'd hear of something like that!

  3. I can totally picture you doing that Mom. :) Makes me want to pet some giraffes!

    I always thought we played Christmas music because now it is allowed to snow, I hadn't heard Dad say that but it makes sense!

  4. I can totally picture you doing that Mom. :) Makes me want to pet some giraffes!

    I always thought we played Christmas music because now it is allowed to snow, I hadn't heard Dad say that but it makes sense!