You know you’re going to have a great day when the first thing you get to do is see giraffes up close. We visited the Nairobi Giraffe Center where we were able to feed food pellet snacks to some of the giraffes.
Fun Fact #1: You’re allowed to feed giraffes by placing a food pellet between your lips and having them take it from you. Think any of our alumni were brave enough to do that? (Answer: Yes!)
Fun Fact #2: When a giraffe is pregnant, they’re not allowed to eat these food pellets. One giraffe at the center was pregnant and was only allowed to be fed leaves.
Fun Fact #3: Warthogs roam around in places you wouldn’t expect. We crossed the path of a few of them on the road our way out of the center.
If you think the day couldn’t have gotten better after seeing the giraffes, you’re wrong. Our next stop was the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where baby elephants who’ve been orphaned as a result of separation from, poaching, or natural death of their mother are raised until the age of three and released back into the wild.
Then we made a visit to Tangaza College University, the host site of the Saint Mary’s Kenya programs–Christ the Teacher Institute for Education (CTIE) and the Maryknoll Institute for African Studies (MIAS). We met with administration and staff of Tangaza as well as alumni of the Saint Mary’s programs there, and had a tour of the CTIE/MIAS areas of the university. We were able to see some of the smart board technology that is used in the classroom. Seeing the connection between the site at Tangaza and our original campuses in Winona and Minneapolis was inspiring, through the Saint Mary’s logo and photos of some of the Christian Brothers based in Minnesota.
The day ended with a cultural exchange between the U.S. and Nairobi Campus alumni, where we discussed the topics of family, education, healthcare, culture, and much more, finding commonalities and differences between the countries and ways of life. While we are all alumni of the same university, it was very eye-opening to be a part of the exchange and was a good way to get to know alumni from the other country through their own descriptions of their culture.