While I thought that my life goals had been accomplished in August 2011 (see Camel Derby), my PhD advisor thought differently, and sent me back to Nairobi to continue my research study (measles vaccine effectiveness in HIV+ kids). It feels great to be back in Nairobi; connecting again with friends, meeting face-to-face with colleagues, and living in a city that I feel somewhat comfortable in, thanks to my two-month stint last year.
Lest you think I work too much, let me present to you: a game drive in the Nairobi National Park.
Peter, the most excellent of all Kenyan taxi drivers, traded in his car for a day and showed up to Savannah Sands at 6am Saturday with a full pop-up-top safari van. I could barely contain my glee, nor could the other three girls who went with me – all students working on various research studies here in Nairobi.
Only 4km from the city center, and about 20 minutes from our apartment, the National Park was mystical and serene at dawn.
This is one of the only natural parks that runs literally to the edge of a city (or, perhaps, the city runs into the park?). It makes for quite the backdrop – savannah and skyscrapers. Here: impala and Nairobi.
Peter, who is also a professional safari guide, sighted an ostrich running through the grass. He said that it appeared as though he was going to overtake another male and steal a female ostrich. Sure enough, we watched as this male ran, kicking and fluffing his feathers, and chased another male away from a female. Intense! These birds are weird looking!
African buffalo were blocking the road, and we had to cautiously and slowly move our vehicle close to move them off the path. They are one of the more dangerous animals in Kenya due to their unpredictable behavior and bad tempers. He is not impressed.
After the National Park, we couldn’t help but go to the elephant orphanage that is on the perimeter of the park. I know I posted pictures of this last year, but seriously. How could you get sick of these guys?!? So big and so small at the same time! Would you believe that this little elephant is only 3 weeks old?
…and we also went to the giraffe center. These are Rothschild giraffe, who get reintroduced in other parts of the country after they grow up a bit. I could hang with these guys all day ❤
…and thus concludes an animal-packed day. Guess I should get back to Stata…