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Published: April 13th 2008
March has been an action filled month for us as a family. Charlotte learned to walk, Murray spent two weeks working in Liberia and one week in UK and we had our first family holiday in Kenya, visiting Mombasa beach and two safari parks.
While Murray was in Liberia Charlotte started to walk properly. Charlotte now walks from room to room, “talking” on her cell phone. It is very sweet, “dad-da” and something resembling “yes” are the basis of most of her “calls”.
Liberia, a country with beautiful beaches and lush rainforest, has just emerged from a fourteen year civil war and is now in a resettlement and reconstruction phase. During my visit I met with UN and other agencies in Monrovia to discuss coordination of our efforts, and met with our partner organizations to design an ongoing water and sanitation programme for three counties in Liberia. I also had the chance to visit some of the project sites for technical quality monitoring. Whilst in the field we went to a local church and joined in the vibrant singing and worship which was one of the highlights of the trip. (Murray)
Over Easter we went on a tour
of south-eastern Kenya. We drove to Mombasa, which is an old coastal town with a mixture of Arab, African and Colonial architecture, including sixteenth century Portuguese built Fort Jesus. We stayed at a place called Tiwi Beach, in a self catering cottage. It was an idyllic spot with a sweep of pure white sand fringed with palm trees and a crystal clear low tide lagoon filled with warm water, perfect for Charlotte to play in. The highlight was sitting on our verandah overlooking the lagoon about 20 meters away, while eating fresh snapper caught that morning.
After a few days relaxing at the beach, we continued the tour up to Tsavo West National Park. We stayed in a traditional thatched hut, with one wall completely open (except for mosquito mesh) overlooking the watering hole and valley below. It was amazing to see hippos bathing in the watering hole, antelope, zebra, giraffe and also a leopard that slowly walked past our hut just after breakfast (almost mistaken by me as a pussy cat, a good reason to always wear my glasses!!).
Next stop was Amboseli National Park. The road from Tsavo West to Amboseli is rugged and has a
reputation for bandit attacks. We had to be escorted by an armed policeman, and along the route forded a raging river which came up to the top of the wheels, then managed to get completely bogged down in an extremely muddy section of road. After a bit of fast thinking and some assistance from the local Maasai villagers we managed to get the trusty Toyota Surf out of the mud and continue on the journey. Murray of course loved every minute of this adventure.
Once in Amboseli National Park we caught a glimpse of the snow capped, 5896m high Mount Kilimanjaro, saw a pride of lions, a lioness close up, hippos out of the water, lots of tusker elephants and a whole host of other animals, like giraffes, zebras, hyenas, and much more.
Please keep Kenya in your prayers, as the political situation is far from resolved.
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