We finally decided to take the plunge and do what has never been done before--travel as the entire McCropder clan. Eric, Rachel, and Jason had work visas to pick up in Nairobi, we were interested in purchasing some stuff (namely, transportation and a clothes dryer for 4 sets of diapers), and all of us just felt a need for some R&R. This was a difficult move logistically, since there ARE 11 of us, but Jess pulled out her superior organizational skills and found us a 14 passenger matatu van that we rented out for the trip. Just to clarify, these vans are not the same size as 15 passenger vans in the US. They are approximately the same size as a mini van (only a slight bit larger). 11 people and all their stuff fit into one of those? Oh, yes, we did. Actual vehicle seen below.
Upon arrival to Nairobi, car shopping commenced. This should be saved for another post, as it was quite an experience in and of itself, but we did end up buying a van like the one seen above. Thanks to all you who have donated to make this possible! Day #2 was spent getting visas in the AM, and then in the afternoon the ladies sans kids went grocery shopping, an all afternoon event, while the guys watched the kids.
Day #3 was spent doing more car shopping (didn't actually get the van until Saturday afternoon) by John and Jason, but also some fun "touristy" Nairobi activities. Below is the whole clan at the Maasai market, a giant open air market full of vendors trying to sell you "good deals" on premium African goods. :) We also visited the Giraffe Park, awesome photos of which can be seen on the McLaughlin blog. Basically, the park houses 10 of the existing 300 Rothschild's species of giraffes, which almost were extinct 30 years ago, at a special reserve. For about $1.25 for residents, $9 for non, you can feed a giraffe out of the palm of your hand...or from your pursed lips. :) Quite a time!We also decided to go out to eat that night at a Korean BBQ restaurant. The food and experience were fantastic--the restaurant was composed of small open air cabanas so our group of 15 (Jason's brother Eli and 3 sons joined us) had our own "house" to eat in. The meat got grilled right on our tables. We realized, too late, that this restaurant might not be the most appropriate for 8 kids under the age of 5--flaming coals on the tabletop and all--but a good time was still had by all.
Finally, on Sunday morning, we made one last grocery stop (I think we shopped at six stores in total, crazy experience) and loaded up all 11 of us, including 4 carseats, and groceries for three families for 2 months, and managed to make it back to Tenwek, exhausted but unscathed. See piles of stuff below. Like a clown car.