Kicking Off the First Day in Kenya, Safari and Food

I flew from Indiana to New York at midnight and met up with the team in the morning. The line to check bags was long, but our team passed through TSA swiftly. We arrived at our gate around 10 a.m., then began ensuring that each member had the necessary documents to enter Kenya. After confirming our documents, we grabbed food and snacks for our 14-hour flight. We contacted two of our team members that weren’t there yet, and after further conversation, we were informed that there were complications with their connecting flight to JFK. Unfortunately, they were unable to make the flight with us. The rest of our group had a smooth and successful flight sleeping, bonding and playing card games together. Upon landing, we made it through customs and met our tour guide who brought us to a local mall where we were able to stop to grab snacks and water. We then quickly boarded back on the bus for our trip to the safari. 

The safari was the beginning of the experience of a lifetime. We saw animals consisting of baboons, impalas, giraffes, rhinos, warthogs, buffalos, bison, hippos and other animals native to Kenya. We had a debate with the best tour guide, Peter, regarding if a buffalo was more dangerous than a hippo. (They are NOT, trust me.)

After our time at the safari, we briefly stopped by our lodging at the Homecare Retreat Center before leaving for dinner at Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Café. The beautiful restaurant was located slightly outside the city in a clearing of the lush forest. Tall palms and flowering bushes surrounded our outdoor table and peering through the open windows of the restaurant allowed us to see the cozy, smartly decorated interior. We chose between two menus, and each of us chose a starter, entrée and dessert.

As a wonderful treat, professor Elizabeth Wimer’s friend John Gitonga of Hope For Ariang Foundation came to join us for dinner, and we had a great time getting to know him. John grew up outside Nakuru, Kenya, and provided some valuable insight into the area, culture and the different communities that exist. After this meeting, the group was much better prepared to engage with the students and staff at the school, and are even more excited!

The food came promptly and was delicious, with entrees consisting of fish, steak, chicken and eggplant dishes. As the trip continued, we enjoyed getting more and more in touch with authentic Kenyan cuisine.