Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What do you mean there are no chimps in Kenya?*

I've had a perfect two weeks off - time to recover my energy and my senses after throwing myself into academics following a six-year hiatus. Time with friends, time to brainstorm and outreach on the projects I am most excited about, and re-connect with the things that energize and inspire me - namely connecting with artisans and continuing to explore the producer network and opportunities here in Kenya. This past weekend I returned to Nanyuki to pick up three rugs that Rising will use in their fundraising efforts - I think they turned out beautifully! Pictures will be posted soon.

It wasn't all work this weekend though - I was joined by Angeline, Lars and our friend Charles to both celebrate Lars' 27th birthday, and visit the chimps of the Sweetwaters Sanctuary (run by Jane Goodall's foundation) where Angeline did her masters research three years ago. I was proud of how well I embraced the chimps - I have a fear of chimps rivaled only by my brother Tim's fear of wolverines. We both maintain the rationality behind such fears (the tragic mauling of a woman in the U.S. and Tim's contention that you'll never meet someone who's been attacked by a Wolverine...as no one survives...). Of course these chimps are far better accomodated and respected for the wild and wonderful animals they are than those dressed up in costumes and given driving lessons, but I digress.

Our game viewing wasn't stellar (Cape Buffalo being the only Big 5 contender we saw) but it was glorious to be in the shadow of Mt. Kenya. I love Nairobi but it's always a treat to get out of the city and into what feels like the real Kenya.

A few more photos here.

*The chimps at Sweetwaters have been rescued from throughout Africa. Most were kept or sold as pets following the poaching of their parents for bushmeat. They've experienced various levels of abuse in their past lives and are now living the life on 22 hectares of Kenyan Savannah. It was a treat to see those who remember Ang, even after so many years. I also loved watching them use tools to maneuver the small space under the electric fence in search of stray peanuts. I think they were more careful than I would have been!


Rog said...
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Rog said...

Glad your batteries have been recharged - loved the shot of the Zebras!

Megan said...

Thanks Rog - I credit the dust :)