I was waiting for this flight a whole month, until finally the day has come – November 24, when I went to the black land. To real Africa, where Pumba says “hakuna matata” and Masaai still lead traditional lifestyle (at least during the shows for tourists).
From the beginning I had one goal – to go on a safari in Nairobi National Park, which is located just 8 km from the center of Nairobi. Thus, as it seemed – nothing more simpler. Collect team and move. The latter proved to be the most difficult. In this type of escapades, when there is need to take the car / taxi, due to the breakdown of costs, the more people the better. As it turned out, no one else shared my enthusiasm to see for the first time in life the scenography to The Lion King. For some, it was too expensive, others discouraged that they do not have the confidence to see wild animals (hello ?! This is the nature not a Zoo!), And still others have decided not to leave the hotel because danger. The idea of a safari collapsed.
After the initial annoyance, I managed to persuade two girls (Rumanian and Slovakian) for Plan B – visit to the elephant orphanage and giraffes center. There wouldn’t be possibility to not see the animals, so the idea took hold. The driver – Michael, who lives about an hour’s drive from Nairobi, took us first to the orphanage.
Orphanage was founded by David Sheldrick in 70’s – British raised in Kenya before the II World War. Center adopts baby elephants across Kenya orphaned in the result of poaching and conflicts with farmers. The young remain in the orphanage until the completion of three years of age, or as much as it takes their feeding by the mother. Then exported to the Tsavo National Park, where they are supposed to be implemented in the wild which takes 8-10 years. So a lot of time and money is required for retrieval little babies, because parents were slaughtered by asians (and others) to have their ivory sculpture on a rack.
The kids are taken out for a walk every day between 11 am and 12 noon on the square to take mud bath. It is also a time for tourists to observe them and learn something about them.
Next stop was the Giraffe Center – established to protect and for introduction endangered Rothschild giraffe type back to nature. A few giraffes has already been put into Kenyan national parks, so they do a good job! In the center, visitors can feed giraffes with specially prepared food. We were instructed to feed them singly piece by piece. Unfortunately, I failed. Sneaky one ate everything at once by her sticky, blue, 50 cm long tong.
After an eventful day and thanks from the girls for persuading them to go, we went back to the hotel. On the way we passed Kibera (from Nubian – jungle), which is the second largest slums in Africa. At approximately 2 km2 area lives population of over 800,000 people, half under 15 years of age. Homes here have an average of 9 m2 and usually are inhabited by 5 people. Most of the inhabitants of this Nairobi “district” live for less than $ 1 a day.
We returned to the hotel. There was was still a few hours to pick up for the flight, so I decided to explore the city. My dear colleagues refused to participate in this escapade because of the alleged danger lurking in every corner of the Kenyan capital..
Heedless of the danger lurking, I left the hotel, I went through the surrounding barbed wire and went to a nearby park, where crowded a lot of locals (it was Sunday). As I was the only white among the crowd of natives, my presence caused a small sensation. I soon found companions. With one of them I talked slightly longer standing on the platform, from which the above photograph was taken. We talked about Kenya, among others, about economic situation, unemployment rate reaching 45% and the current president, whose entire campaign in the last elections was sponsored by China, and therefore now became time of payment. Payment is based on the fact that the vast majority of contracts for investments financed from the state budget, such as roads, schools, hospitals, and above all for the extraction of natural resources account for companies from the country of dragon, which according to my interlocutor ruins Kenyan companies and therefore increases the unemployment rate.
Africa has always been the scene of struggle for influance. First, between colonial empires. Later, between East and West. And now between the Far East (China) and the West. For now, China is winning. In my opinion, this is a result of few factors. The West is busy grapple with the crisis, teasing with Russia and trying to chase terrorists willing to create their own state, by grabbing part of Iraq’s and Syria’s territory. China, on the other hand, in its foreign policy is focused mainly on Africa. It is significant that chosen in early 2013 the new Chinese President Xi Jinping, on his first trip abroad went to Tanzania, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition, China, with its booming economy, giving money to African warlords, does not ask for human rights, democracy, and crimes against humanity. Just want an access to natural resources. I cannot wait to visit the other African countries to know their point of view.