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Published: September 15th 2010
There are many great things about living overseas, like being able to touch baby elephants at the orphanage, feed giraffes, pat cheetahs, etc.
But something I still struggle with is the fact my children will miss some things I loved about growing up in NZ. This reared its ugly head recently when Charlotte asked me if she could feed some ducks. The girls love their farm animal books at the moment, and the “Old MacDonald had a farm” song is now compulsorily sung before bed. I really feel sad denying my kids access to somewhere like One Tree Hill. Five minutes drive from where I grew up in the biggest city in NZ, is a farm. It is public, so you can walk in the paddocks, with chickens, sheep, cows, etc. This weekend away was inspired by those feelings (unfortunately Charlotte will have to wait till our NZ trip to see some pigs, unless I find some in Kenya).
So we went to Malu Lodge for the weekend. Its 1 ½ hours drive from Nairobi, near Lake Naivasha. Its nestled near the Rift Valley walls, and is surrounded by mature forest, which is unusual for the area now. On
the drive there the girls were so excited about “going to the farm” that they barely noticed the zebra and dik dik we pass on the side of the road.
The girls got to do many “farm” type things and even stomping round in their gumboots was enjoyed. We stayed in a little cottage near the main farm house, which was in an enclosure that housed a lion in the 1970s. The girls enjoyed feeding and patting the animals: chickens, goats/sheep, horses, donkeys, cows, rabbits and dogs.
The highlight for us with Hayley was definitely her delight in seeing the chickens, geese, ducks, and turkeys. She enjoyed feeding them and patting the chickens, while “chatting” the entire time to them, with a few “quacks” thrown in here and there. She also really loved the dogs but didn’t enjoy their kisses, our Hayley is not a fan of kisses!
Charlotte, our more timid animal lover, did remarkable well, and by the second day didn’t even notice a dog meters away from her. To get some background, on the first day Charlotte started screaming hysterically as a butterfly was “chasing” her! Charlottes highlight was feeding the horses and milking
the cow. I couldn’t quite believe as I watched her go into the stable and fill the horse’s trough up over and over again. And also watching her refuse to move away and let someone else milk the cow on the second day. Both girls enjoyed a ride on a donkey carriage, Charlotte having a nice wee chat to John the donkey much to the amusement of his minder.
We went for a short forest walk, stepping on stones to cross the stream, and then swam in a plunge pool. Charlotte in particular loved this, and it was nice to see her enjoying the walk through the trees. She even managed to enjoy the butterflies without losing her cool.
We had such a lovely time and will definitely try to go back there. Perfect for a family weekend away.
Murray heads to the UK at the end of the month, then Myanmar and another UK conference trip before we head home in December. I am growing fatter by the day and am starting to dread the thought of flying home all that way. Charlotte is enjoying kindy, and has started ballet. Hayley is talking more and developing
a lot faster without her bossy sister around, although she still tries desperately to sneak into the car to go to school with Charlotte.
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