71. Welcome to Botswana

The following was taken from a Change.org email dated March 25, 2020

– Welcome to Botswana –
Where Rich People Can Kill Elephants

Image Source: Change.org

Kenya has banned the practice of trophy hunting.
Botswana had formally joined in the ban, but has now chosen to reinstate elephant hunting.
Foreign hunters will be allowed to kill 202 of its elephants.


Most of the foreign hunters who go to Africa are from the United States.
The average cost for foreign trophy hunters to purchase hunting rights, travel, hire a professional to accompany them and pay for taxidermy is approximately $71,000.

Elephants help support the health of our planet. They spread the seeds from the plants they have eaten, dispersing plant life to other areas. They dig water holes in dry river beds that other animals use as a water source as well as creating trails that serve as fire breakers. Elephants help the local economies through eco-tourism.  Eco-tourism is a $2 billion-dollar industry, while reintroducing hunting contributes to only 1.9% of tourism.   

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has held Crush Ivory Days in various sites over the years.

In Colorado, U.S. officials destroyed more than 6 tons of confiscated ivory tusks, carvings and jewelry — the bulk of the U.S. “blood ivory” stockpile — and urged other nations to follow suit to fight a $10 billion global trade that slaughters tens of thousands of elephants each year.

There are two bills that have been introduced in U.S. Congress (the CECIL and Protect Acts) that will ban trophy hunting imports from crossing American borders. The fate of these bills is unknown at the time of this posting.

Change.org is asking everyone to consider contacting his/her representative in support of these bills.

70. NEVER FORGET these Elephant Facts*

*facts and images collected from all over the internet

The African Elephant



1. It’s true that elephants never forget (sort of).

Elephants can remember the locations of water holes hundreds of miles apart, and return to them every year. Their brains are very advanced, like humans, dolphins and chimpanzees.


2. African elephants are the largest land mammals on the planet.
One of the largest known elephants was Jumbo, whose name is thought to be derived from the Swahili word for “boss” or “chief.”
He is the reason we now use the word “jumbo” to mean “huge.”

Jumbo and his trainer, Matthew Scott


3. Elephants commonly show humor, compassion, cooperation, self-awareness, tool use, playfulness, sharp learning abilities and frustration. 

According to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, temper tantrums are common among baby elephants, who are known to throw fits by throwing themselves down into mud when upset.

4. Elephants demonstrate concern for members of their families and take care of weak or injured members of the herd.

They greet each other by hugging with their trunks.

Source: Herd Of Elephants Saves Another Family’s Baby, The Dodo, YouTube (Time: 3:05)

5. No matter what you’ve heard, elephants don’t care much for peanuts.

6. Elephant herds are matriarchal. The oldest female elephant will decide where and when the herd moves and rests, day to day and season to season. She will only leave the group if she dies or is captured. Males leave the herd around the age of 12.

7. Elephants can have babies until the age of 50. The gestation period for elephants is 22 months. Female elephants have been known to induce labour by self-medicating with certain plants.

8. Baby elephants are initially blind and some take to sucking their trunk for comfort in the same way that humans suck their thumbs.

9. Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror, joining only humans, apes and dolphins as animals that possess this kind of self-awareness.



10. Elephants are very good swimmers. 
They move all four legs to swim and use their trunk to breathe like a snorkel in deep water.

11. As important an appendage as an elephant’s trunk is, it has no bones!

Its trunk, capable of lifting 700 pounds or plucking a single blade of grass, contains over 40,000 muscles, divided into 150,000 individual muscle units.

12. Elephants are herbivores and can spend up to 16-hour days collecting and eating tough, fibrous foods, most of which pass through their bodies undigested. All that undigested fiber can produce as much as 300 pounds of poop each day!
Some of the poop can be harvested to help produce sellable products.

13. Elephants are one of a few (possibly the only) animals who can understand human pointing, without any training.

14. The total global elephant population is currently estimated at 650,000, and they are very much in danger of extinction. The main risk to elephants is from humans through poaching and changes to their habitat.

Poachers in Kenya have enjoyed lenient sentences and few have been successfully prosecuted.
The global ivory trade was worth an estimated $1 billion over the past decade, with 80% of ivory from illegally killed elephants.
The street value of elephant ivory is now greater than gold, running to tens of thousands of dollars per tusk.

69. Tusker Tim

“The world is mourning an icon.”
allAfrica.com


Tim, one of the last surviving super tusters, died in Amboseli National Park early last month.
According to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), he died of natural causes.
There was evidence that his wild animal friends had tried hard to resurrect him.

Famous for his rare majestic tusks, Tim was a very popular sighting for tourists who visited Amboseli National Park. He was considered an ambassador for his species.

Source: Lifegate.com, Tim in a mud-pit in 2018.


The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which helped save Tim from a swamp in 2018, sent out a statement saying, “Kenya lost a giant today. Our hearts are heavy as we remember a magnificent elephant who we grew to know and love.”

“Our hearts are broken,” said Wildlife Direct, a Nairobi-based conservation campaign group. “Tim was one of Africa’s very few Super Tuskers, and an incredible elephant whose presence awed and inspired many. He was one of Kenya’s National Treasures.”

Kimana Gate, Amboseli National Park


Tim was 50 years old. He called the Amboseli ecosystem (which spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border) his home.
His body was found not far from the Kimana Gate.

Elephant tusks never stop growing, so enormous tusks are usually a sign of an old elephant. Both male and female African elephants grow tusks.
African elephants are referred to as “tuskers” when their tusks grow so long that they reach the ground. Due to poaching, conservationists estimate only a few dozen such animals with tusks that size are now left on the continent.

Tim’s tusks were said to weigh more than 100 lbs each.


Tim’s body was moved to a taxidermist in Nairobi so that it can be preserved for display in the national museum for exhibition and education purposes.

Source: Wild Eye, YouTube (Time: 2:57)

68. There’s a New Addition to Nairobi’s Elephant Nursery

On the 2nd of January, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescued a calf from the Masai Mara. The little female baby was about six months old. They named her Naleku.

After the trauma of losing her mother, followed by the noise and handling necessary for the rescue, Naleku was very restless, and paced her room all night.


The following day she sensed the presence of the other elephants in the Nursery and constantly cried out while pacing in her stable.

 

Although still weak and a resident for only a single day, the decision was made to let her out with the other orphans.


Naleku was greeted with reassuring trunk cuddles and showered with love and affection.
It’s amazing when one considers that the older elephants giving comfort and emotional support are only babies themselves, yet instinctively they know to offer a tender trunk hug.



I adopted Maktao in order to get a closer look at SWT’s elephant babies, in a less crowded setting.
I adopted Naleku because I couldn’t resist.


The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Source: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, YouTube (Time: 3:38)

67. The Doves of Africa

Doves *

Aside from the Sahara and Antarctica, doves are found all over the world. Kenya has more than a dozen species of doves.
Doves have stout bodies, short necks and short, slender bills. Their colors are mostly dull in nature.

Doves feed on seeds, fruits, and plants.

Pigeons and doves are in the same family and are sometimes referred to interchangeably. As a rule, doves have longer tails than pigeons. “Dove” tends to be used for smaller species and “pigeon” for larger ones.

Both doves and pigeons are incredibly swift flyers.
Most doves are thought to mate for life.

* Why feature doves?

It’s a bit of a circuitous route.
Trees Week > W. Maathai, mother of trees > W. Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate > Nobel Peace Prize > peace > peace symbols > doves

The dove is often associated with peace* – and peace is a natural extension of the successful tree planting programs promoted by Wangari Maathai in the fields of Kenya.

“Trees are living symbols of peace and hope.”
Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace laureate

Update, April 14, 2020: I have subsequently learned that doves are not associated with peace in African folklore. Apparently, the lilac-breasted roller is thought to bring peace and happiness. Well, darn.

* Update, April 14, 2020: I have subsequently learned that doves are not associated with peace in African folklore. Apparently, the lilac-breasted roller is thought to bring peace and happiness.
Well, darn.

66. Jane Goodall Is Self-Isolating, Too

The following is taken from The New York Times, March 25, 2020

This is part of an edited phone conversation.
The journalist’s questions appear in bold text.

Source: New York Times

Jane Goodall is in isolation these days along with everyone else, since a fund-raising tour was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. She is staying at her family home in England, not in Tanzania, her primary home when not on the road.

Dr. Goodall changed the way the world views chimpanzees with research that began when she first went to Africa 60 years ago this July.

She later became a tireless advocate for chimps in captivity. When she began her work, chimps were routinely used in medical research, a practice Dr. Goodall helped stop in the U.S.

So this pause has let you step back a bit?
It’s catching up, you know. But there are some things that are so unbelievably worrying. In the U.S. you have people who can apply for unemployment or something. But what about in Tanzania, for example? The people running the bars, the restaurants, selling food at the side of the road — all banned now. And they make just enough to keep alive for a week and pay the rent and there’s no social security, nothing for them.

Being isolated has made me think of what it must be like for chimpanzees who were isolated in captivity, who depend on physical closeness and touch.
I think about it all the time. I’ve thought about it ever since I saw secretly filmed footage of these social beings in medical research labs in 5-foot by 5-foot cages. The first time I went into one of those labs. It was horrendous. And solitary confinement. As you say, it’s bad enough for us, but we have all these other ways of distracting. And what about these animals who have nothing?
But you know the other thing is, it has reactivated the discussion about animal trafficking – selling wild animals for food or for medicine. Everybody’s pointing fingers at China, but already the government’s made a total ban on the markets, selling animals for food and on trafficking – importing wild animals. So we just have to hope that because of the magnitude of this pandemic they will keep that ban. At the moment it’s temporary, but let’s hope they enforce it forever.

Animals, although not chimps, will be used in testing treatments and vaccines for Covid-19. What is your stance on animal experimentation?

My stance is that ultimately there will be a time with no animal experimentation. What pleased me about the chimp situation is that I was in it from the ethical point of view, but the fact that the chimps were put in sanctuaries because the research was not useful was a far better outcome than if it had been done on ethical grounds. It’s like fossil fuel. People say we want to stop using fossil fuel now. Well that’s clearly impossible. You can’t just suddenly stop something. And this medical research on animals won’t suddenly stop, although I wish it would. The trouble is that people working on alternatives just don’t get the right support.

One of Project Chimps’ indoor-outdoor enclosures, used as a temporary home to former laboratory chimps until other facilities were renovated.
Source: New York Times

C14 – Jane Goodall Is Self-Isolating, Too

The following is taken from The New York Times, March 25, 2020

Goodall is in England, in the house she grew up in, and she has a few thoughts about chimpanzees, the coronavirus pandemic and the loo paper shortage.
This is part of an edited phone conversation. The journalist’s questions appear in bold text.

Source: New York Times

Jane Goodall is in isolation these days along with everyone else, since a fund-raising tour was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. She is staying at her family home in England, not in Tanzania, her primary home when not on the road.

Dr. Goodall changed the way the world views chimpanzees with research that began when she first went to Africa 60 years ago this July, a young woman without a college degree, to observe chimpanzees in the wild at what is now the Gombe Stream Research Centre in Tanzania.

She later became a tireless advocate for chimps in captivity. When she began her work, chimps were routinely used in medical research, a practice Dr. Goodall and other advocates helped stop in the U.S.

So this pause has let you step back a bit?
It’s catching up, you know. But there are some things that are so unbelievably worrying. In the U.S. you have people who can apply for unemployment or something. But what about in Tanzania, for example? The people running the bars, the restaurants, selling food at the side of the road — all banned now. And they make just enough to keep alive for a week and pay the rent and there’s no social security, nothing for them.

Being isolated has made me think of what it must be like for chimpanzees who were isolated in captivity, who depend on physical closeness and touch.
I think about it all the time. I’ve thought about it ever since I saw secretly filmed footage of these social beings in medical research labs in 5-foot by 5-foot cages. The first time I went into one of those labs. It was horrendous. And solitary confinement. As you say, it’s bad enough for us, but we have all these other ways of distracting. And what about these animals who have nothing?
But you know the other thing is, if you’re trying to look for silver linings in this horrible time. It has reactivated the discussion about animal trafficking, selling wild animals for food or for medicine. Everybody’s pointing fingers at China, but already the government’s made a total ban on the markets, selling animals for food and on trafficking, importing wild animals. So we just have to hope that because of the magnitude of this pandemic they will keep that ban. At the moment it’s temporary, but let’s hope they enforce it forever, and close down the market for animals used in traditional medicine.

Animals, although not chimps, will be used in testing treatments and vaccines for Covid-19. What is your stance on animal experimentation?
My stance is that ultimately there will be a time with no animal experimentation. What pleased me about the chimp situation is that I was in it from the ethical point of view, but the fact that the chimps were put in sanctuaries because the research was not useful was a far better outcome than if it had been done on ethical grounds. It’s like fossil fuel. People say we want to stop using fossil fuel now. Well that’s clearly impossible. You can’t just suddenly stop something. And this medical research on animals won’t suddenly stop, although I wish it would. The trouble is that people working on alternatives just don’t get the right support.

65. Wangari’s Story

“In Unbowed, A Memoir, 2004 Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai recounts her extraordinary journey from her childhood in rural Kenya to the world stage.” 
It was, by no means, an easy journey.

Maathai was an inspirational, hard working woman (driven, actually), who set out to correct the effects brought about by prejudice, inequality and ecological destruction in her native Kenya.

Much of the book covers the conflicts resulting from environmental devastation – how it started and why it continued. Maathai recounts her efforts to fight a corrupt government bent on scaring her country, both through ecological destruction and gender discrimination. She was punished for her actions. Yet, despite her many trials in life, she remained unbowed, believing that what she could not overcome, she could at least get past.


More books! Share one or two of these with a short person you know.
The illustrations alone will make it worth your while.


What does the following art project really have to do with anything I’ll be doing or seeing on safari?
Well, it sort of has to do with Kenya stuff. Sort of.

I stumbled upon this Teachers Pay Teachers art project while searching for material on Wangari Maathai and thought it might be of some use to someone during our Time of Social Distancing.
It’s a wonderful project with excellent instructions. The hardest part is gathering all the materials before you begin.

C13 – Coronavirus poses lethal threat to great apes, experts warn

The following is taken from The Guardian.com

Even pathogens producing mild symptoms in humans have been lethal to great apes in the past. The fact that Covid-19 is fatal for some humans leads experts to fear it could potentially prove devastating to great apes.

The coronavirus pandemic could wipe out populations of chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, leading scientists have warned.

Our closest living relatives, which share about 98% of human DNA, are known to be susceptible to catching respiratory diseases from people.
No great apes have yet been reported to have contracted Covid-19, so the true impact is unknown. But many great apes are already at risk of extinction due to forest destruction and poaching, so the researchers say closing national parks, reserves and zoos must be seriously considered.

Uganda has not announced a shutdown of gorilla tourism, although tourist traffic from Europe and elsewhere has dwindled.
A spokesperson for the Uganda Wildlife Authority, Bashir Hangi, said the decision on whether to shut down gorilla tourism is now academic as there is almost no business amid the outbreak.

Research in 2008 revealed the first direct evidence of virus transmission from humans to wild apes. Since then common human respiratory viruses have caused lethal outbreaks in wild great apes that have become used to people. In 2016 scientists reported the transmission of a human coronavirus to wild chimpanzees in the Taï National Park in Ivory Coast.

The number of surviving mountain gorillas has been rising, with about 1,000 now living in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, and the species was moved from critically endangered to endangered. It is the only great ape believed to be increasing in number.

C12 – Coronavirus Health Alert #9


Health Alert: Survey for Possible Future Flight
Message Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Kampala (March 24, 2020)
Reply-To: Kampala, USCitizens

The Government of Uganda announced the closure of Entebbe International Airport effective at 12:00 a.m. March 23, as well as the closure of all land borders.  No individual will be allowed to enter or depart Uganda by air, land, or water except for specific cargo vehicles which must follow strict Ministry of Health procedures.  

The U.S. Embassy in Kampala has confirmed that the Qatar Airways flight for March 25 was closed for booking due to heavy demand.  Qatar Airways has said they will return phone calls to the individuals who had already reached Qatar Airways and arrange their booking, to the extent that they can find sufficient availability aboard onward flights from Doha to the United States.  

If you want to return to the United States but you were unable to book this or any other flight, please register your interest by completing a survey at: https://forms.gle/ue9E4WGDLVoMvseF9.

63. The Fig Tree

The Broom Cluster Fig (or Cape Fig) is a fast-growing, evergreen tree. It usually grows from 16 – 39 ft in height, but has been know to grow to a height of 115 ft or more.

Older trees develop a massive spreading crown, fluted trunks, and wide buttress roots which help to keep the shallow-rooted tree from falling over.

The figs are produced from September to March. They appear on short or long drooping spurs which may emerge from surface roots, the trunk or most commonly from lower main branches.


The tree has large leaves with serrated edges.


The fig tree provides medicine, food, shade and shelter for all nature of animals, large and small.

 The wood of the Broom Cluster Fig is soft and white and has been used for making mortars for grinding flour as well as making drums. In modern times this tree is used most extensively as a shade tree.

The fig tree is believed to have magical powers and is used in many rituals by local people.

As a child, Wangari Maathai learned from her grandmother that a large fig tree near her family home in central Kenya was sacred and not to be disturbed. She remembered gathering water at the springs protected by the roots of that tree. She remembered resting in its shade.
After completing her education in the U.S., she returned to Kenya and found the tree had been felled. Reflecting on what that had done to the surrounding area, Maathai went on to become “the woman who planted millions of trees.”

62. Wangari Maathai, Mother of Trees

Wangarĩ Muta Maathai (1940 – 2011) was a renowned Kenyan social, environmental and political activist. She became the first African woman, and the first environmentalist, to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It was awarded for her contribution in the field of sustainable development, democracy and peace.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee wrote, “Peace on earth depends on our ability to secure our living environment. Maathai stands at the front of the fight to promote ecologically viable social, economic and cultural development in Kenya and in Africa. She has taken a holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights and women’s rights in particular. She thinks globally and acts locally.”

More than most others, Maathai recognized the connection between the health of the land and the health of the people.

In 1977, she founded the Green Belt Movement (GBM) in response to the needs of rural Kenyan women who reported the streams were drying up, food supplies were less secure, and firewood for fuel and fencing was becoming more scarce.

GBM encourages women to work together (while receiving a small monetary token for their work) to grow seedlings and plant trees to bind the soil, store rainwater and provide food and firewood.

Maathai’s work in this area eventually earned her the nickname “Mama Mici” or Mother of Trees.

“If you destroy the forest,” Maathai said, “then the river will stop flowing, the rains will become irregular, the crops will fail and you will die of hunger and starvation …. Planting trees breaks the cycle. When we can give ourselves food, firewood, and help to nurture soil for planting and clean water, then we begin to roll poverty back” 

C11 – Coronavirus Health Alert #7 and #8

enrolledinkenya@state.gov 
Message for U.S. Citizens: Suspension of International Flights Effective Midnight, March 25th
Reply-To: enrolledinkenya@state.gov


KampalaUSCitizen@state.gov
Message Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Kampala (March 22, 2020)
Reply-To: Kampala, USCitizens

The Government of Uganda has announced . . . No individual will be allowed to enter Uganda by air, land, or water except for specific cargo vehicles which must follow strict Ministry of Health procedures.  Further, the Ugandan Ministry of Health confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Entebbe, Uganda on March 21, 2020. 

61. The Meru Oak

Meru Oak

The Meru Oak is endemic to Kenya and rarely found outside its borders.

It is a deciduous tree capable of growing to a height of 100 feet or more.

The leaves are compound, with five leaflets attached to a single stem.

It can be recognized by its very thin, rough, hairy bark, full of vertical groves.

The Meru Oak’s wood is hard and durable. It is commonly used for the production of furniture and decorative veneers. As a consequence of its highly valued timber, it has been severely over-exploited and is becoming very rare.

The Meru Oak is on the IUCN Red List.

C10 – Coronavirus Health Alert #6

Getting these alerts on a daily basis now.

KampalaUSCitizens@state.gov˜
Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Kenya March 21, 2020
Reply-To: enrolledinkenya@state.gov

Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Kampala, Uganda (March 21, 2020)
Location:  Uganda

Event: There are no confirmed cases COVID-19 reported in Uganda.

The Government of Uganda haw announced the closure of Entebbe International Airport, to be effective at 12am March 23 (midnight the night of March 22), as well as the closure of all land borders, No individual will bellowed to enter Uganda by air, land or water . . . 

60. Keep ’em On My Toes

Gorilla Trekking Boots

Last month, before REI closed its retail stores due to the Coronavirus, I visited its shoe department and tried on a number of hiking boots. It took 8 different brands before I found a comfortable boot, but the cost stopped me from taking a pair home.

This month, online sales cut the cost in half. Still, it’s a pricey purchase considering I may never use them. (Kenya has closed its borders.) The boots arrived a few days ago. Thinking that I ought to break them in, I’ve been wearing the boots around the house. They’re very comfortable, so the breaking in stage doesn’t really seem necessary.


After a Long Day on the Savanna

Linda and I plan to make use of the swimming pools at a couple of camps while on safari.
I’m not a flip-flop fan, but I’ll be wanting some sort of footwear as I walk from tent to pool and back.
Water shoes seem like a good choice.


They’re soft, light weight, pull on easily and fold into a flat, small bundle. I question whether they’ll last more than a season, but for my purposes, that’s not a worry.

After soaking them in the sink, I hung them to dry in the shower. Next morning they were dry inside and out.


A Safari Necessity

Yes, these are a must. AfriSocks!

RUNNING LIST OF ITEMS
purchased in preparation for the Kenya/Uganda trip
(some I may use again, some probably not)

utility work gloves
nylon gaiters
Money Belt
Humangear GoTubbs
hiking boots
water shoes
AfriSocks

59. Secretary Bird

Secretary Bird *

Adult Secretary Birds have a featherless red-orange face and black coloring on the wings, thighs and elongated central tail feathers. They also have very long eyelashes.
The Secretary Bird gets its name from its crest of long feathers that look like the quill pens office workers tucked behind their ears in the 1800s.

Secretary Birds walk up to 20km a day in search of vipers, cobras and other snakes.
They are good fliers and nest and roost high up in acacia trees at night.

Source: American Scientist

Researchers in Hampshire, England have been studying the kicks of a male bird called Madeleine. They’ve found that when a secretary bird kicks a snake in the head, the killer blow can transfer five times the bird’s own weight in a hundredth of a second.
They say that studying extreme examples of animal movement could help design fast-moving robot limbs or prosthetics.

*Why feature the Secretary Bird?


I was drawn to the bird because it reminds me of how one of my aunts used to apply her make up.

Its kick is pretty impressive too.

Feathers the Bird and Aunt Gertrude

58. Nat’l Geographic Picture of the Day

It was nice to receive something other than a Coronavirus Alert in my inbox this morning.


Why is this rhino hanging upside down?

Source: National Geographic Newsletter, David Chancellor
Subscribe to the newsletter.



David Chancellor found out while photographing a wildlife veterinarian receiving a black rhino from a hovering helicopter in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.

“Rhinos will suffocate if their body weight is supported on their chests, such as in a body harness, and this would also result in undue pressure being placed on their hearts and associated organs,” Chancellor says. “So despite appearances, this is medically preferable—to support them by the legs for short distances.” Obviously, it’s best not to move the rhinos at all, unless their habitat has become unsafe. Sadly, Chancellor says, “to preserve these extraordinary creatures, intervention is often unavoidable.”

57. The Iconic Acacia Tortilis

The Acacia Tortilis (Umbrella Thorn Tree) appears in just about every picture of an African savanna sunset that has ever been printed, painted or posted.

The tree is indigenous to Kenya and is very drought resistant. It has the classic, umbrella-shaped canopy which is associated with thorn trees. Many bird species take advantage of this thorny protection and build their nests in the canopy.



The leaves are very small giving the umbrella a soft, feathery appearance. The foliage is typically bright green or bluish-green.






The tree flowers in December (summer) with small, densely packed, creamy white or yellow spherical heads.

Acacia Tortilis produces a large number of pods that are eaten by domestic and wild animals (e.g., kudu, impala, rhino and elephant), and sometimes by man. The pods are tightly coiled spirals that fall to the ground unopened.

Source: Random Harvest Nursery



The trees produce pairs of thorns along its branches: one straight thorn with a small curved thorn alongside.

C8 – Coronavirus Health Alert #5

Getting these alerts on a daily basis now.

KampalaUSCitizens@state.gov˜
Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Kenya March 13, 2020
Reply-To: enrolledinkenya@state.gov

Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Kampala, Uganda (March 18, 2020)
Location:  Uganda

Event: The government of Uganda has implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. 

55. Coffee Trees

Coffee is Kenya’s third most valuable export (behind tea and ornamental flowers). Although Kenya is 16th in world coffee production, its beans are among the most desirable.

The country has areas of acidic soil that, when mixed with the right amount of sunlight and ample rainfall, help ensure delicious, productive crops.

There are small coffee farms and co-ops as well as large corporate coffee producers in Kenya.



Farmers look through their plants when it’s time to harvest, and choose the red cherries.

The video below, edited from the original, describes a bit of the coffee processing procedures.

Source: taken from COFFEE PROCESSING IN KENYA, Parallel Media, YouTube (Time: 3:18)
flowering coffee tree

Due to global coffee price instability and property boom in the areas that were previously used for cultivation, coffee production is in a state of decline.

C7 – Coronavirus Health Alert #4

enrolledinkenya@state.gov 
Health Aler for U.S. Citizens
Reply-To: enrolledinkenya@state.gov

U.S. EMBASSY NAIROBI, KENYA
Health Alert for U.S. Citizens
March 16, 2020

Location:  Kenya

Event:  The government of Kenya has implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.

On March 15, the Kenya Ministry of Health announced three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nairobi.  

On March 15, President Kenyatta released a directive regarding the potential for COVID-19 in Kenya.  The government of Kenya released the following guidance effective March 17 and will remain in effect for the next 30 days:

·       The government of Kenya is suspending travel for all persons coming into Kenya from any country with reported Coronavirus cases.

·
       Only Kenyan citizens, and any foreigners with valid residence permits, will be allowed to enter the country provided they self-quarantine or quarantine in a government-designated facility.

·       All persons who have come into Kenya in the last 14 days must self-quarantine. If any person exhibits symptoms such as cough or fever they should present themselves to the nearest health facility for testing.


A full transcript of the directive is available on the Kenya Ministry of Health website.  

The government has implemented quarantines in Kenya.  Transportation to or from Kenya, and public services including schools and government offices are restricted or closed.  Private companies – including hotels, apartment buildings, or supermarkets – have restricted access. Effective Wednesday, March 18th, personal travel for U.S. government personnel will be limited to a 2-hour driving radius from their residence (Nairobi, Kisumu or Kericho). Personal travel by train or airplane in Kenya will also be restricted until further notice.

Actions to Take

·       Visit the Kenyan Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 website for updated information.

·       Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.

C6 – COVID-19 and the Mountain Gorilla

From The Good Tourism Blog:

“Mountain gorillas are highly susceptible to human-borne disease. Even a common cold, which is little more than a temporary inconvenience for humans, could prove fatal to them.”

The current tourism standards emphasize that humans must maintain a seven-meter (or greater) distance from gorillas at all times, which in the absence of wind is the minimum safe distance to avoid a sneezed droplet carrying infectious particles.

The International Gorilla Conservation Programme is using the COVID-19 moment to tighten the “Certified Gorilla Friendly” tourism standards it wants to see implemented in Rwanda, Uganda and the DR Congo.

One of the most pressing issues discussed at the IGCP workshop was the need to ensure that a minimum distance is maintained between visitors and gorillas and—given that the apes are oblivious to these rules of engagement—the importance of taking extra precautions to legislate for those moments when gorillas make it impossible to observe the guidelines.
Foremost among these additional measures is the use of a mask or other form of protective barrier to cover the nose and mouth throughout the one-hour duration of a gorilla encounter.

54. Culture Smart! Kenya

If you locate Culture Smart! Kenya in Amazon’s book section, you will read that it “provides a cultural bridge that will carry you beyond the gloss of the hotels and deep into the warp and weft of everyday life; beyond the game parks and into the intricacies of community and wildlife coexistence; beyond the bounds of tourism and into the freedom of cultural understanding and exchange.”

Whoa! Someone really went Hollywood with that review.

In more realistic terms, what this little book actually is, is a simple introduction to Kenya’s history, geography, and culture, with some observations covering shopping, food, and wildlife safaris thrown into the mix. None of the topics is covered in depth, and Kenya’s political landscape, which apparently can’t be counted on to remain stable for long, could use a little updating. It is, however, a nice overview of all things Kenyan, with black and white photos peppered throughout the text.
If, like me, you’ve yet to visit Kenya, but will soon be on your way, this book appears to be a good start.


Warp and Weft? Had to look that up.

weft
[in weaving] the crosswise threads on a loom over and under which other threads (the warp) are passed to make cloth.

53. Pop Open Bottles

A couple of years ago, I used two Humangear products to store items while traveling.

One of the smaller GoTubbs® was filled with liquid concealer (Gotta hide those dark bags!) and a second one with a pair of stud earrings. A larger GoTubb® was used for medication.
The fact that they can be opened with just one hand meant little to me at the time of purchase, but that feature has come in handy dozens of times. With a single-handed squeeze, they pop right open.

Today I ordered these Humangear GoToobs® with locking cap. They can sit on a flat surface or hang on a hook in the shower. And they’re leakproof (which I intend to test before I place them in my luggage) and TSA-approved (3.4 oz/100 ml).

Both GoToobs® and GoTubbs® are BPA-Free and PC-Free.

RUNNING LIST OF ITEMS
purchased in preparation for the Kenya/Uganda trip
(some I may use again, some probably not)

utility work gloves
nylon gaiters
Money Belt
Humangear GoTubbs

C5 – Coronavirus Health Alert #3

enrolledinkenya@state.gov 
Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Kenya March 13, 2020
Reply-To: enrolledinkenya@state.gov

Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Kenya March 13, 2020
Location:  Kenya

Event: On March 13, the Kenyan Ministry of Health announced one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Nairobi. 

The Kenyan Ministry of Health has suspended all public gatherings, meetings and events.  All routine consular appointments at the U.S. Embassy from March 16 to March 27 are canceled.  In the case of a U.S. citizen in need of emergency assistance, please contact the U.S. Embassy using the contact information below before coming.

U.S. government personnel are advised to limit non-essential travel.