But this post isn't about that. It's about monkeys.
The group of beach cottages where we stayed has the most impressive local monkey population I have yet encountered. We saw some of the seasonal residents there putting plates of food out for them, which may explain a lot. There are 3 main types:
2. The Colobus Monkeys, which always have a sagacious look about them.
3. The Baboons
Now, baboons are generally recognized as peaceful creatures, but they can grow pretty big, and are known for aggressive tendencies once in a while. On arrival, we were told to keep our doors shut, lest the monkeys get in to go after the food. One morning, a vertiable troop of about 10 baboons made their way onto our veranda. Three of them stood on the opposite side of the glass, checking out Maggie, who stood there fearlessly proclaiming, "No come in my house!" You tell those monkeys, Maggie! Here is one of them:
In an impressive show of domination, one of the big males climbed up on our veranda chair, seen below, then grapped the cushion, set it up on the rail, let out a big yawn (baring his huge incisors) and laid down for a brief nap.Though we hadn't left any food out, we had left a few beach things, notably Maggie's swimsuit as well as a pink, inflatable fish intertube pool toy. These were seized by the troop of baboons and run through the common area between the cottages. Here's a picture of the baboons running around with our pool toy. Seen below, baboon teeth and inflatable pool toys do not always make the best playmates, and Maggie's fish suffered a fatality on behalf of the activity.
My wife, ever dauntless of baboon mischief spotted the swimsuit in the hands of a few young ones across the lawn and decided she was up to the task. I tried to argue that the big ones would come to the aid of the little ones if they looked threatened, but she would have none of it. She ran quickly and excitedly towards the little gaggle, and they scattered in true cowardly monkey spirit. Here she is with the spoils of her victory.
Maggie's linguistic development is really coming along, and she is putting more and more words together every day. She proudly told everyone that day: "Baboons take my fish!" There it is. Subject, action verb, correct possessive pronoun, and direct object. All together. How bizarre that it was actually true.
"We have a teenager who was gored by an elephant" was the call I received from my resident the other night. The goring had occurred at 2pm the day before, but the herdsman couldn't move well enough to get home - so it wasn't until the following day that his family came looking for him because the cows hadn't come home.
We took him to the operating room where we pulled grass and dirt out of the three areas he was gored. The first site was through the left chest, where the tusk had gone through his ribs and then up the inside of his chest. Aside from the big hole in his chest, there was no damage to his lung or his heart.
The elephant tried again to inflict a more serious injury - this time running his tusk down the herdsman's neck. I could stick my fingers in the wound and I was right on the carotid artery! But no serious injuries there either. Strike two for the elephant.
The third time, the elephant went for the thigh and got really close to the femoral vessels, but he missed. Strike three.
It is hard to tell whether the elephant's aim was just a bit off or if he was just trying to send this boy a message.
But I think the herdsman wins this one - he is going to have a great story to tell to his buddies the next time they play two truths and a lie - and this helps confirm my theory of the Masai being the toughest people on earth.
~ African Proverb
In Kenyan culture, it is seen as an honor and a blessing to host visitors. We have taken the same view. In the last month, various visitors have really blessed the McCropders. Here is the pictorial recap of our series of visitors:
Grace and Abby, two young friends from our home church in Michgan, spent the last month here, helping with a whole host of projects. Among their many contributions, they organized the surgical library; they fed babies in the nursery; they played with children at orphanages; they ran a VBS for all the neighborhood kids. Perhaps the greatest blessing to the McCropders was that they loved and watched all the McCropder children. Grace and Abby also kept a fantastic blog of their experiences. We all miss them now that they have returned to Michigan.
We also enjoyed a visit from Jason’s cousin, Katy, and her son (who fit in extremely well with the kids here). Katy worked at the hospital as an FP doctor, where she did an outstanding job of treating rare patient presentations in an unfamiliar hospital setting. Meanwhile Jack an Anna made an impressive bug collection. One highlight for me was that Katy was eager to go running with me, even at 6am and at 6500 ft elevation. Another memorable moment from their visit was going to Masai Mara together and seeing 10 lions eating a wildebeest.
The Ramaker family's visit was a fabulous time for us, the Fader family. The Ramakers helped out at the hospital, at an orphanage, in Heather’s Sunday School class, on a community health outreach, and with various other projects. Their two little girls are totally adorable, and Anna loved playing with them. Their two-week visit flew by. So much fun!
When the last of our American visitors flew back to the US this past weekend, it felt empty and lonely around here. For about 2 hours. And then Baby M came to stay for a while. Baby M is a beautiful 1-week-old baby who has a foster home with us until he enters an orphanage next week or the next. Isn’t he precious? We love having him.
We really thank God for the blessings of our visitors, and we look forward to the last of all the McCropder visitors: Heather’s dad comes to Kenya next week!
Strangely, it almost seems like we never left the U.S. Things remain largely the same, but here are a few things that have struck us in the last 48 hours:
- McDonald's is every bit as yummy as we remembered. We don't know why those little cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets taste so good, but we're lovin' it.
- American milk is SO delicious.
- It is very pleasant to go for a jog and not be followed by children asking, "How are you?" and "What is the time?" No worries about being run over by a motorbike either.
- American q-tips are incredibly fluffy and feel fantastic.
- Some food delights -- blueberries, amazing strawberries, black olives, croutons, and deli meat.
- It's so nice to drive in a place where you can count on people obeying the traffic signals and laws.
- Our feet have really missed soft, fluffy carpet.
- It's wonderful taking a shower without having a separate bucket of rainwater to prevent your hair from sticking together.
- Being able to drink straight from the tap is truly a wonderful blessing.