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This morning we were all able to sleep in a little bit and then enjoy another breakfast of the same. We packed up and headed out from Kisii around 10:00 AM and began driving back towards Nairobi. The scenery on the drive is beautiful. Near Kisii is hilly, lush, green farm land with terraces of crops visible on the hillsides. The dirt is red on this side. And then as you come down on the other side of the hills, the scenery changes. The dirt is brown in color. The land is flat. There is cactus everywhere, and there are the classic Serengeti trees you see in pictures (African Olive Trees).

To me it is amazing how vast the differences are within the same country. Along the drive, several of the Kenyans traveling with us did some grocery shopping. Isaac purchased a live chicken! Here in Kenya they tie the chickens legs together so they cannot escape, and they keep the chicken alive until right before they plan to eat it. So, we had a live chicken in a box on the roof of our bus! Catherine purchased some eggs along the way too. Eggs are not refrigerated here, much like in Haiti.

We ate lunch at the same restaurant today as we did on our way to Kisii last Saturday in the town of Narok. Most of us ordered off the menus this time around and had chicken sandwiches. From here our group split in two. Three people and the LCMS Kenya leaders headed back to Nairobi, and the other nine of us headed off in two vans to start our safari adventure in the Masai Mara. The drive began on paved roads, but it soon turned into a very bumpy dirt road ride for about two hours. We drove through many different small villages where we saw African people living in mud huts with thatched roofs and wearing colorful fabric cloths wrapped around them. We also saw some people with the stretched earlobes, which we had not seen at all in Kisii. This land we drove through today was exactly how I pictured Africa in my mind or have seen it portrayed in National Geographic. Driving along we actually saw zebras, giraffes, ostrich, gazelles, and baboons from a distance! I absolutely cannot wait to see them more close up tomorrow.

Early in the evening we arrived at the Mountain Rock Camp very near to the Maasai Mara. This camp has permanent tents, so we are truly camping! However, I will admit, that it is luxury camping. There are beds inside with mosquito nets, and there are bathrooms at the back of the tent with running hot water. In fact, this is the best bathroom I have seen all week! We are in the deluxe tents, though. There are other people here staying in soft sided ground tents, and others have tarp showers out back with a bucket of water up above. We are spoiled! There is even electricity from 7-10pm. After checking in, we went out to explore a bit and found Velvet Monkeys up in the trees inside of our camp. Apparently we have to be quite careful to keep bags and tents zipped so that the monkeys cannot get in and cause havoc. We did see one tent with a zipper left partially open, and there were about 4 monkeys running in and out eating oranges!

Dinner was served buffet style in a big soft side dining room tent. We had beef tips, mashed potatoes, pasta, and butternut soup. I did try the drinking chocolate as a warm drink after dinner, and that was a great treat as there has been no dessert all week.

So, we are off to "camp" outside for the night. I am curious what animal noises we will hear out there?!

Saint John's member Kimberly Pepmiller is in Africa through July 25 with ten other doctors and nurses, lending her medical skills at clinics in Kisii, Kenya, operated by the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod's Mercy Medical Team.