By: Meri Winter
Today was all about the amazing wildlife of Kenya! We started the day at a giraffe sanctuary called Giraffe Center, where we got to feed giraffes and learn about them. Since Africa is home to many endangered species, the center was created by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife to educate Kenyan children about nature and wildlife in their environment. Giraffes, specifically the Rothschild giraffe, are one of Africa’s endangered species. In 1979, there were only 150 of them left. Now, there are over 600 of them, thanks to wildlife awareness and funds raised for the center. Today, the Giraffe Center is a nature education center for people from all over the world who visit Kenya and learn about its awesome wildlife.
Next, we went to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, an elephant sanctuary that takes in orphaned elephants of all ages and keeps them safe from being hunted and poached. The orphanage is open when the elephants get fed and we had front row seats to watch! The keepers fed them milk, educated us on the work they do, told us each elephant’s name and how it came to the orphanage and their end goal, which is to introduce the elephants back into the wild once they are grown. It was so fun to watch them being fed, and they even walked close enough to us for us to touch them and take pictures! Each elephant had its own personality, which made them all so cute and kind in their own way. We learned so much today about how important it is to take care of our world. We share the world with so many animals who rely on us to keep them healthy and safe.
We also visited an open-air Kenyan market, where we got to shop and practice our bargaining skills. Some of us had more success than others with bargaining, but everyone purchased beautiful and colorful items! It was a fun experience to browse the market and see the different crafts and clothes. Today was a great way to spend our last day in Kenya, and we are all looking forward to the next leg of our trip in Uganda.
Meri Winter is 27 years old and has lived in Boston her whole life. She went to Boston College for her undergraduate education and majored in applied psychology and human development. She took a year off before starting graduate school and lived and worked in Tel Aviv at an elementary school. Upon returning to Boston, she started graduate school at Boston College for Social Work, and now works at the Epiphany School in Dorchester on the student support team. She has volunteered at homeless shelters, food banks and schools. She has also done similar volunteer work abroad. She loves to eat, travel and meet new people.