We are all familiar with the limitations COVID-19 has put on activities. Whether it be work, study or social activities, our movements have been restricted for the last couple of years. For our children, life during this time was largely centred on staying at Doyle Farm which has been tough on them. So, as restrictions eased, they became excited about the possibility of heading out for an excursion day to visit an animal orphanage in Nairobi.
We are so pleased to once again be in a position offer these activities to the children. It’s a chance for them to break out of daily routine and experience something a little different. But excursions also have many social and educational benefits. New activities and environments can promote engagement levels, build confidence, encourage teamwork and create connections.
Our boys and girls visited the animal orphanage on separate days. Here, the managers involved in each excursion day share with us what they got up to.
A day out for the boys – by Uncle Nic
Our journey kicked off early in the morning. The boys were all smartly dressed and very excited upon getting into the bus – they couldn’t hide their joy. They would dance and sing along to different types of music played in the bus. The driver was a nice person and he gave us permission to play all styles of music despite it being a church vehicle.
We had a stop over at the Great Rift Valley viewing point where we took group and individual photos for the boys. Mike did a wonderful job capturing them smiling and posing as they enjoyed their snacks, soda and mandazi, a popular Kenyan snack.
We arrived in Nairobi and as we passed the airport, the boys enjoyed watching the aeroplanes taking off and landing. Some were curious to know if we could go to The Carnivore Restaurant for lunch. Acknowledging their feelings and desire to go, we used the opportunity to put forward a ‘wonder why’ question ie. why they thought if we don’t go to Carnivore they wouldn’t have their lunch. We let them know we had a better plan for lunch and would be having it in a different place.
Upon arrival at the animal orphanage, all COVID-19 protocols were observed. We also ensured the boys were adequately supported with one staff allocated for every three boys.
The boys couldn’t hide their excitement at the park and looked astonished after viewing all the different animals. This included the likes of lions, lionesses, leopards, tigers, cheethas, hyenas, ostrich, warthogs, hippos, monkeys with very long tails, giraffes, zebras, crocodile, birds, porcupines and peacocks. We later took a safari walk inside the park where they got to witness more animals. By this time, the boys were hungry and by chance we had booked for lunch at the inside canteen. We went and enjoyed lunch together – the food was delicious and the boys were happy! Later, we witnessed the lions being fed which was a great experience. They would roar loudly while feeding on their meat. We then asked for one staff member from the orphanage to explain the history of the wild animals.
As we were leaving, we met with Maasai who were welcoming visitors. Amos did a wonderful introduction to them and by their tradition, they taught us to jump up high to the sky as they sang their songs to us. Then, content and happy after a great day, we began our journey back to the farm.
The experience was one of a kind for everyone involved. We were all so grateful and happy. Thank you everyone once again.
Excursion day for the girls – by Aunty Bella
We recently took our girls on an excursion day to Nairobi to visit the animal orphanage. On the way they enjoyed seeing the beautiful nature. We also passed by Wilson Airport. It was amazing and the girls were so excited to see planes landing and flying in the air.
On our arrival to the animal orphanage, the COVID-19 rules were followed – washing of hands, taking our temperatures and masks worn throughout our visit.
We were led to the cages where the animals were kept. The girls were excited to the see different animals. We went around the place and had a look at each animal. The girls happened to witness a lion roaring with a loud voice. They could not hide their excitement since it was lively and we never got a chance to be scared. We also enjoyed seeing a free giraffe walking, eating leaves from trees and they got to take some pictures near it. From there we took pictures as a family, then our journey back to Doyle Farm began. On the way we took our lunch at Naivas. The girls looked exhausted after their big excursion day and some slept on their way home.
We arrived home at around 6.30pm and our newest girl Gloria was waiting for us. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to come on the excursion day as she had not finished her 14 days at Doyle Farm.
Activities such as our excursion days play an important part in the healing journey for our children. Yet they are only made possible by the generosity of our sponsors. If you’d like to find out how you can support Rafiki Mwema, visit our Get Involved page.