Maasai Mara, Kenya
The Keekorak Lodge is an open air hotel within the animal park. I was awakened several times last night by animal noises, as well as shouts from the Maasai security guards. They chased away herds of elephants, hippos, zebras and gazelles attempting to graze on the hotel lawn last night. A leopard is known to sleep in the trees outside my room – he has not been seen for a few weeks. Monkeys scamper around the swimming pool, and swing from the roof of the massage tent. A pier overlooks the hippo pool, where 32 of these enormous herbivores were wrestling, mating, and waiting for the opportunity to graze on the grass after sunset.
Leaving the park, we were enchanted by a herd of elephants taking a mud bath. We spent an hour combing the forest for a rhinoceros, but failed to complete our search for the “big five” game. Along the bumpy, dusty ride home, we passed dozens of traditional Maasai villages and herders.
We stopped for a picnic at a souvenir shop. I most enjoyed snooping around back to see the artisans carving ebony statuettes, and to visit with the water-well pumper. He is sixty-three years old and works cranking a bucket of water by hand from a 120 foot deep well. He carries the bucket up two flights of stairs and pours it into a cistern above the modern and delightfully clean restrooms, where tourists casually leave the water running while lathering their hands.
Returning to Kijabe, we were most disappointed to learn that only one of the expected 15 patients had arrived. We took a humbling walk through the Kijabe cemetery, where families of European and U.S. missionaries who had lived and died for the Lord in Africa were buried under simple headstones.
Michael has been quite sick today. We are going to test for malaria in the morning if he is not better.
Ready to serve again tomorrow,
Mike Armstrong, MD