Africa Changed The Way I See the World
December 24, 2014
Africa was never on my bucket list.
Not because I don’t love wildlife. I’ve always loved animals, and hubby and I do contribute to many animal charities. But I expected it to be a very distancing experience. I didn’t expect to be welcomed and enveloped by its warmth and beauty.
Kenya is a truly warm and welcome, mind-blowingly beautiful and life-altering experience.
The sheer numbers of wildlife we saw first-hand, up close, was something I didn’t expect. Yeah, I know, it’s Africa. But I didn’t expect I’d become part of what I was witnessing. The distance disappeared and I felt part of it. For just those ten days.
We were told it would be life-altering. It actually was. It has become part of the way I think of Planet Earth. Because I saw it myself. I experienced it first-hand. A world completely different and alien and beautiful and necessary.
I loved seeing the lions. Seeing lions in the wild. Up-close. VERY close. It gives you a healthy respect and admiration for the circle of life. Sounds corny, I know. But you really understand when you see it. You really feel their power and grace when you see them in the world where they belong. A world that was theirs long before we entered the scene.
This photo… I took it from the porch of our little bungalow. Just an average Kenyan sunset on The Lewa Wildlife Preserve near Mt. Kenya. The expansiveness of this place is otherworldly and overwhelming. I’ve traveled all over the world. . . Tokyo, Sydney, Venice, London, Florence, Vienna, Munich, Budapest, Prague, Paris, Barcelona . . . but Kenya, Africa is now the singularly most unique and beautiful and amazing place I’ve ever been.
The personal highlight for me was our visit to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Center to see the baby elephant orphans that we sponsor. . . a priceless experience (you too can sponsor the babies, for so little, with such an impact). You see these little beings who have lost so much and yet give so much back. You can’t help but admire the tireless efforts of the Sheldrick organization for the extraordinary, ground-breaking work they have done and continue to do. They are making a difference, saving the elephants, reintroducing them into the wild. I mean… look at this little guy? How can you not look at him and fall in love and want to save them all. ( http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/)
I felt like I got so much from the experience, I wanted to give back. When I got back, I discovered KIVA from a friend of mine. Kiva gives you the opportunity to loan $25 to a family or individual that supports their ability to provide for their families and villages, not just in Kenya, but all over the world. For as little as $25, you give them a loan and they pay you back, and you can choose to reinvest in another. I’ve already been paid back twice since participating. After the experience I had, I felt this is truly the least I could do. (http://www.kiva.org/)
Go. Make it happen. You can do it. I’m the least out-doorsy person I know, and I fell in step with this wild and breathtakingly beautiful world. Now it has become important to me. Because I know it’s there. I felt it myself.
I was told by a lovely woman who devotes her life to saving orphaned baby elephants that “…no one visits Kenya just once. You will come back.” I believe her. We’re already planning it.