Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kenya Game Parks

The Johnsons know that no mission trip is complete without a visit to some cool site in the area. When I visited them in Dallas last June to begin the organizational development process we started with a trip to the rodeo. My first visit to Kenya included the Malindi coastline. This time…elephants, a rhino, and giraffes.

The young elephants charged from the forest area to the observation area in desperate search of the milk they knew was waiting for them. The host told the story of each elephant and how he or she came to be rescued as well as how the elephants are eventually reintroduced into the wild. A small cable strung between a few wooden posts was all that separated us from these powerful and hungry beasts. As they paraded past the onlookers, I ran my hand along the dusty, hairy skin of the young giants. Tickly.

The rhino was too big to come out of his cage and behave himself, but I managed to nearly strangle myself on the thin wire intended to prevent visitors from approaching the wooden structure too closely while trying to get a photo.

At our prayer meeting Sunday night, the teacher talked about being giraffic. She said that because she had a doctorate she was allowed make up words. Being giraffic referred to seeing the big picture, seeing how as individuals we only have a small piece of a picture but in community our view becomes more complete. She also urged us not to be an ostrich and stick our head in the sand, be to be giraffic and see the longer view.

In tribute to that message, we visited Jock the giraffe who wrapped his 12” tongue around my wrist and pulled my hand close to his lips where he proceeded to envelop my whole hand in order to get the few pellets of food residing there. I held as still as I could, but I’m sure Jock thought the “eeeeew” look on my face was rather rude. When removing my hand a long trail of slime followed. Kelly, in his very studious manner, observed…pellets in, pellets out.