Thursday, June 01, 2006

Christin's Kenya Update 6/1...About Brad and Angelina

Hey everyone!

well, I'm back from the safari, so no worries, I didn't get eaten by a lion or attacked by a rhino. It was an amazing experience and one that I would highly recommend! We were literally about 4 feet from lions, buffalo, cheetah, topi, impala, gazelles, etc. etc. I will have some great pictures to share with anyone who is interested. We stayed at two amazing places. They were like five star hotels in the middle of the African wild! It was unbelievable. I even took pictures of the rooms, so you can see them, too.

we stopped at a Maasai village while we were on the safari. It was insane! They live in huts made out of cow dung that are about 20x20 feet. They have huges holes in their earlobes--some were so big they wrapped their lobes around the top of their ear to get them out of the way! I took lots of pictures, too. And, interestingly enough, I was nearly married off. On our way, a maasai warrior offered our safari driver, Robert, 10 cows apiece for us to marry him (in Africa, you can have more than one wife). Then, when Robert laughed and said no, he offered 15. Robert said that's a pretty big honor because he didn't even know we were American or if we were educated. Yeah, ok, whatever. I don't care how many cows are offered, I'm not going to marry some Maasai warrior.

so I know you are all curious about this brad and Angelina subject line. Well, I know how some of you were saying that I was going to meet them because they would randomly show up at NLH, well... Obviously, they didn't come cuz they had their baby--LOL. But shaggy did come. Yeah, shaggy the rapper from the US that's not even cool anymore. So watch out. It was really weird. And we didn't take pictures, so don't ask!

yesterday we had our first arrivals at NLH since we've been there. One came from the police, Jeff, and two were transferred from another orphanage. Jeff was found abadoned by the police in what I understood to be some type of drainage ditch in the slums. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen when he came in. After he was checked by two doctors, we got to hold him and see firsthand what kind of shape they are in when they come in. I would guess that Jeff is about 6-8 months old, possibly closer to 8 months. The thing is, his head is about that size, and he's about that long, but he easily weighs under 10 lbs. Just for an example, his forearm is the size of my thumb. His arms and legs aren't chubby and contain almost no muscle at all. When I held him, I could feel every single one of his ribs through two layers of clothing. It was the most shocking, unbelievable thing. Looking at him, you could see in his eyes that he was scared to death. All these new people and not used to any attention or love at all. Finally, after holding him and talking to him and touching him, he finally smiled and ate. It was the most rewarding experience.

It's hard to imagine having a baby and taking care of it for awhile and not being able to feed it and love it because there is simply not enough food or money. I can't even imagine how people cope with that and how they live day-to-day in those types of situations. And it's not an uncommon thing here. Everyday, people here have to make decisions about which one of their children will go to bed hungry or if they need to eat and then all of the children will be hungry. Here, babies are abandoned because their mothers are in the sex trade, rape, incest, etc. Some perfectly healthy babies are left because they are half-white or half-Asian. Many that are born with problems due to poor pre-natal nutrition are abandoned at well. It's so sad what can be prevented simply by living in a different place.

Well, now that I wrote one of the most depressing emails ever, I just want to make sure that all of you know that I'm still having a good time and really enjoying my experience here. Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers, they are greatly appreciated!



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