On Safari (Leighann Miling)

Safari was wonderful in so many ways. Spectacular scenery, wildlife and people surrounded me. We were guided by four wonderful leaders who made us feel safe and did their best to please us and make us laugh. We all grew in our relationships, as we spent hours on end in Land Cruisers together. The lodging was the best I have ever stayed in and I felt like royalty. When I think back on this past weekend I can’t help but smile. LA3LA2

One of my favorite experiences on safari was encountering the elephants. We were so close that I could hear the swooshing sound the air makes when an elephant flaps its ears. On another occasion we came upon a group of elephants on the road. There were calves that were playing in the mud and I watched a mother coax her calf out of the mud. I was struck by how gentle the mothers are with the babies. Elephants are such intelligent and incredible animals and experiencing that first hand is something I’ll never forget.

My favorite part of the whole safari experience was getting to know the drivers. I loved asking them questions about their lives and learning more about them. The first day we drove with Ayubu. I loved hearing about his family, and watching him blush as he talked about how he met his wife. Ayubu is always quick to make a joke and teased me about just about everything. The next day we had Hamis. He had walked us to school several times and actually spied on us one day to make sure we got on the right daladala, so we already knew a little about him. I loved hearing about how he grew up on the coast and about his family. LA 1The next day we had Maluta, more affectionately called Baba. I loved hearing Baba’s dreams about retiring and taking over his father’s garage. His children, Angel and Allen attend Tetra Lutheran, which is the school at which I teach! I love Maluta like a baba. J Sadly, we did not have the chance to ride with Abdul because drove the shorter Land Cruiser that was reserved for the professors. However, I got the chance to eat lunch with the drivers today and he told me that he speaks his native tribal language, Swahili, English and a little bit of French. He then explained when he uses his tribal language and when he uses Swahili. LA4The safari drivers deserve so much appreciation and thanks because they kept us safe and taught us so much. I will not forget how much fun I had with the drivers and look forward to (winning) the upcoming soccer game we play against them. 🙂

-Leighann Miling

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