“Once you drink from the waters of Africa, you will always be thirsty.”
That’s right, I’m going to start posting ALL my old travel stories!! I’m so excited! I was hesitant to write about my past adventures because I had the impression that blogs should be about current travels. But I received some good advice from a colleague who said, “It’s YOUR Blog! Write whatever you want! 🙂 ” “Ok then, I think I will!” So while I save money for my next adventure, I’m going to take this opportunity to share everything I’ve always wanted to tell people, but have never had the chance.
I went to Kenya in 2011 for 6 months, on an internship involved with wildlife conservation and community development programs. My flight took me from Missouri to England, England to Ethiopia, Ethiopia to Mombasa, Kenya… it was a long flight. Stepping off the plane, I received the biggest culture shock of my life. It’s so hard to describe, but I felt like I had flown into another world. Nothing was familiar and I suddenly felt unsure of my decision to come. But I made friends with other volunteers, settled into our house and a routine and soon, Kenya became my second home.My heart aches now for Africa. In so many ways I left my heart there. Click To Tweet
I know I’ll never feel whole again until I go back.
The best quote I’ve heard to help define my feelings toward this amazing continent, goes like this, “Once you drink from the waters of Africa, you will always be thirsty.” That is so true and hard for people to understand if you’ve never been there but trust me, it’s a special place.
So I’m in Kenya, living in this little fishing village on the south eastern coast. OH MY GOD, every day was paradise, adventure and sensory overload in the best ways possible. My job was to lead new volunteers on hikes through the forest to teach them about deforestation, primate behavior and conduct wildlife observation surveys. I am literally bursting at the seams with everything I want to say, I should really write a book! I loved it!
I was dirty and sweaty and the heat was oppressive but I was so thankful to be where I was. I had so many good times on hikes in the forests of Kenya: the time I almost stepped on a Snouted Night Adder, or when we watched a Green Tree snake stalk and bite a chameleon, and the chameleon turned colors and bit him back! Too amazing. Apart from the Hornbills and Colobus monkeys, my favorite species in the forest had to be the Safari Ants.
These little guys are nothing like the ants we have back home. They were huge and really organized. I remember once I was leading a small group through the jungle and we came to this spot where the entire forest floor was covered in ants! The forest floor was actually moving! I was sort of speechless, not gonna lie. Now you’re thinking, “Oh, like a little river of ants across… …”, NO! THEY COVERED EVERYTHING!!! But, I saw this on an episode of MacGyver when I was a kid so, I felt prepared.
As a group we decided, “How bad could it be?” and took turns sprinting across this black, energetic mass covering the ground. After a dash of maybe 20 meters, we regrouped on the other side. HAHAHA! We laughed and carried on down the trail with a light-hearted skip in our step. However, moments later we stopped and looked at each other in bewilderment and panic. No words were exchanged. The look we gave each other was one that said, “I’M COVERED IN ANTS AND I’M GETTING THE SH*T STUNG OUT OF ME!!!”
The boys went in one direction and girls in another as we shed our clothes to rid ourselves of the safari ants. Our laughter echoed throughout the forest that day.
This is just one of my many Africa stories. Of course I’m saving the best for last!