Friday, July 28, 2017

In Which We Got Closer To A Lion Than I'd Anticipated

We got to experience two morning drives and two late afternoon/evening drives on our safari. This was our last afternoon drive and our third one overall. I wasn't sure if there would be new things to spot or if we'd seen a lot of it already. I should have known better...
The first thing we saw was this huge buffalo. Our safari guide, Andrew, said this buffalo was like a "grumpy, old man." I figured it was because of the huge set of horns on his head. I know they protect him but it still looks really uncomfortable to me.
This bird was just gorgeous and we watched it for a bit.
Then we found the Hippo River, as I called it. Unlike our previous hippo experience (which you can read about here), these ones were mostly submerged and just took turns coming up for air. Andrew said it was hard to judge exactly how many hippos there were in this spot. You can see a lot of pairs of hippo eyes in the picture with Sam.
I was glad we didn't get very close to this crocodile. He was rather large!
I never got tired of seeing the wide open spaces of the savannah. Especially as the sun was starting to set. It reminded me so much of Saskatchewan with the wide open spaces and big skies.
As we drove up to the airstrip in the conservancy to search for a cheetah, we ran into an even more interesting encounter. First we saw these two hyenas.
They were bothering this lioness who had a kill. They had stolen some of it from her, and were taunting her with part of it. She decided to drink from this pool, rather than engage with them.

This picture of her drinking with the sunset in the back was one of my most favourite pictures I took our whole trip.
You can see in the picture of Rachel looking out of the vehicle how close we were to her. It was amazing, and unnerving, at the same time.
She nicely posed for a picture for me and then went back to whetting her thirst. Ha!
Sam really liked these birds and wanted me to take this picture.

Since we stayed to watch the lioness and hyenas interact for so long, it was quite dark as we headed back home. When we started on our safari, Andrew had asked the kids which animal they were most looking forward to seeing. Rachel answered, "A bunny!" Of course. Andrew said that there was something called a scrub hare which was similar to a bunny, which we might see, if we were lucky.

As we were driving back to the camp, suddenly Dennis, our driver, stopped the car. "Look Rachel," he exclaimed, and sure enough, a scrub hare was caught in the headlights of our vehicle. The hare paused for about fifteen seconds and then bounded away. As we drove away, Rachel exclaimed under her breath, "Yes!" It was such a beautiful moment for me.

And I would say that defined our safari experience. We saw all the animals we wanted to see. We got to see a lot of amazing encounters between different species of wildlife. We got to see everything so up close and personal. It was beyond our wildest imaginings. And there was still one last drive left to experience...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Maasai Beading Is Not For Amateurs!

After an unintentional blogging break, I am returning to continue telling you about our Kenya trip. Last I left you, we were on safari. And one of the things we had an opportunity to do was to visit a Maasai village. These villages are basically one man with his wives and possibly some houses for older children, if they are married.
One thing I found really interesting was that the houses are built by the women and take one to three weeks to build. They look quite small but this one had five rooms inside. The picture on the right is the cooking fire with a spot for the dishes. With five of us in the room, it was quite crowded. I don't think I can accurately explain how hot and confining these houses are. I can't imagine how difficult it is to raise a family there.
After we had toured the house and learned a little about the Maasai way of life, the women sang a song of welcome to us.
 
And then they pulled us into the dance with them...
...gave us each a necklace to wear...
...and somehow figured we would get the hang of it!
We didn't.
Normally Dave wouldn't have been included in the women's dance but would have been part of the men's one. However, since all the men were away, Dave got the chance to test his Maasai dancing skills as well!
Sorry (but not really) for the overkill of pictures but this was such a special and unique experience. I will never forget it.
After the dance we got the chance to ask each other questions. I asked a question about how they learned the song and the dance, but I will be forever grateful that our translator misinterpreted the question, and instead thought I wanted to know how they made their jewelry.
The next thing I knew, one of the woman had brought out a necklace in progress and was showing me how to bead.

Let's just say, I was not an expert! It took me forever to get the first three beads on the string.
But then the woman encouraged me to do another three, so she must have seen some ability in there somewhere! I learned that the Maasai women bead in their free time so they get really good at it, really fast.
Later that day we had another unique opportunity when our driver, Dennis, showed us, along with another Maasai warrior, how to make a fire with two kinds of wood. It's called a "Maasai matchbox!" And I really wish I could remember what the two kinds of wood were. Argh.
Sam got a chance to try his hand at it too!
As did Rachel and Dave. And let's just say that none of us would ever eat cooked food again if we had to depend on our fire lighting skills :)
This was such an incredible day to get the chance to learn just a little bit about the Maasai culture. It really made me appreciate how luxurious our North American lifestyle is, despite the lack of beading skills.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What's Up Wednesday: July

It's What's Up Wednesday time again. Here's what has been going on with us in July.

 
image from here

What we're eating this week... Our CSA. I love love love our CSA.
The picture on the left is zucchini pizza bites. You can find the recipe here. I make a vegetarian version with mushrooms or peppers instead of pepperoni. Rachel ate four of these last night for supper.

The picture on the right is Sam and Rachel holding their sorrel bunches. When we first started doing our CSA pickup we had to drive out to the farm. Sam loved picking tons of sorrel to eat. Angie now brings him a HUGE bunch every week since we no longer drive out to the farm. Last week, Rachel freaked out that Sam wasn't sharing so this week Angie brought Rachel her own bunch. And this is just one of the many reasons I love our CSA.

What I'm reminiscing about... Our Kenya trip. It was just such an amazing trip. If you're interested, you can read all our Kenya posts here. And I should get back to blogging about it tomorrow. I'll be writing about our Maasai village visit :)

What I'm loving... I am loving the lazy days of summer which we only got to start experiencing last week. The kids were in a full day VBS before that and before that we were gone. I love seeing how creative the kids are when they have to figure out what to do on their own. For instance, last week they decided to open a flag shop. They make the flags out of fuse beads or perler beads. Below is Sam's catalogue if you wish to order a flag :)

And Rachel composed the following story. The balloon is asking, "Hey, who made me?" The girl answers, "I made you. My name is Rachel." The sun adds, "I'm hot." And the grass finishes, "I am grass." Hahahahahaha!!! How can I not love these things?!?!?

What we've been up to... We've been up to two straight weeks of VBS, one week of full days and one week of half days. We've also gone to three baseball games in three weeks in three different states and provinces. (Yes, those adventures will be on the blog once I'm done writing about our Kenya trip.) And the kids have been working on their summer workbooks.

What I'm dreading... While I love the kids' creativity with the fuse beads, I hate ironing them. Blah.

What I'm working on... Well, I'm worship leading at church on Sunday so I've been working on that. I'm also preaching next month so I should be working on that as well. Ha! And I should get working on our Kenya photo book so we can pick it up when we go to The States next month. There's a lot to work on.

What I'm excited about... I'm mostly excited about the fact that the kids have gotten into making their own lunches. Yay independence!!! I don't even care what they eat if they're making it themselves! Ha!
I'm also excited because I participated in the 24in48 readathon this past weekend and I won a prize for my awesome spine poetry -- where you make poetry composed from titles of books you have. My winning entry was this:

Paris
Walkable City
The hate u give
The unwanteds,
Hidden figures
Behind closed doors -
Beneath the stones -
Nobody knows.


What I'm watching/reading... I basically read all the books this past weekend. I read ten books in 24 hours over a 48 hour period. It was awesome. The best book I read was The Hate U Give. You should read it.
Does "staring at flowers" count as "watching?" Normally I get a flower CSA every year but last fall my flower farmer had a baby so she didn't sell shares this year. However, she's been selling bouquets at the pickup some weeks and I've been a loyal customer. I just love her flowers!!! Okay, okay -- I love ALL flowers! Ha!

What I'm listening to... Ummm... does Dave groaning in pain count? Unfortunately, he did something to his leg or back or some body part near there and is having a lot of trouble moving. He has a doctor's appointment tomorrow but until then he's just in a lot of pain if he moves the wrong way -- like standing up or sitting down or rolling over in bed. You know, basically if he has to move.

What I'm wearing...Well this past weekend I wore both my book shirts and I really want another one. It's a problem. Besides that I've been wearing the three t-shirts I bought at Target last weekend. I got them in navy, grey, and the red shown below. You can click on the link below to see them and I won't even earn any commission! Hahaha!
image of Target t-shirt from here

What I'm doing this weekend... As I mentioned above, I'm worship leading this weekend. Other than that, we have a lot of yard work to do, so I'll probably be trying to fit in some of that in as well.

This bed needs some weeding time and attention.
 
I suspect it's a problem when your weeds are taller than your hedge. Yerghks.

What I'm looking forward to next month... We're heading to New York for a long weekend at the end of the month and it will include family time and some special baseball fun! Also, the kids will be in swimming lessons everyday for four weeks so I'm looking forward to mornings at the pool.

What else is new... I can't think of anything.

Bonus question: What's your favourite thing about summer?
Ummm... I don't know. Maybe just that the kids have lots of time to play together and I get to eavesdrop on their imaginations. Basically what I wrote for "What I'm loving..." above! I also love not having to rush out of the house every morning.