Safari time!

Keith Forwith in front of a rhinoNo photoshop here, we were this close to this white rhino!The internet connection here has been nearly non-existent but I met with the hospital IT department today and I think they've found a way for me to blog! So, hopefully more stories coming soon. The weekend was a time to forget clinical duties and relax. What better way than a safari! So, our group of five headed to the Fairmount Mari Safari Club for an unforgettable weekend. We took game drives Friday evening, Saturday  morning and evening and Sunday morning. Friday evening we took a "walking safari" led by some National Park rangers. They carry AK-47's and guard these rhinos 24/7/365 from poachers. Legend has it that the horn contains a powerful aphrodesiac. Shame that they have to guard them so closely, but tourism is a huge industry in Kenya. These magnificent creatures are one of the big 5 that people always ask if you saw on safari. Our first night was magical - we saw 4 of the big five!

biting zebrasNot one of the big five but I never tire of these beauties! Zebras are like bison in Yellowstone - the first one you see you stop and take tons of pictures, then by the end of your stay your hardly paying attention to them. Unfair, because each has a unique striping pattern - like our fingerprints . These two were first scratching each others backs, then it turned into this neck biting activity. I learned from our driver that their spines are not sturdy enough for carrying water or packs like mules do. Probably why they've never been domesticated - but they sure are prettier to look at than mules!

leopardThe most elusive of the big five is the leopard. We saw this one on our first night! Our waiter at the hotel told us that some people stay for a week and don't spot one. I'd love to see one in a tree someday, but felt lucky to see this one so clearly. What a thrill! 

The greatest part of the safari was sharing it with my wife, Sue. Last year, I had a great safari but kept thinking - I wish Sue could see this. Well, this year she was here and got to experience it first hand. Despite the fact that I talked her head off about what I saw, she still didn't get it. You just have to see the beauty for yourself. The pictures just don't do it justice!

African elephant

All good things must come to an end, and in this case it was bittersweet. I returned to Tenwek on Sunday, but my wife, the Murphys and Stephanie all returned to the airport to go home. Sad to say goodbye, even if it's only for two weeks. After great food and fellowship on safari, I spent Sunday dinner alone in the guesthouse. There are other guests here but I they were all scattered. I heated up leftovers and considered the stark contrast. My loneliness was brief though. I worked out, spent some extra time in prayer and realized that despite saying goodbye, I'm glad I'm still here. There is so much work to be done and I'm am blessed to have the ability to do it. God is so alive in this place - from the beautiful creatures to the desperate poverty. It is easy to be a believer here.  

Somewhere else in this vast country, my daughter Allegra continues her mission. Seems unfair to both be so far from home, in the same country, but not able to talk or communicate. I hope during her time she gets to see the magnificent wildlife. 

I hope to load more photos from our safari onto the Gallery section of this website. Tomorrow I'll be back to telling more clinical stories. Thanks for all the encouragement from those following along, it sure makes home feel less far away!

Hopefully, Sue will put some posts on this site. She spent some time in the villages and people's homes. So if you see Sue, encourage her to tell her stories, and tell her there's still two people in Kenya who love her and can't wait to see her. God Bless!