Sunday, January 2, 2011

Flat Stanley Goes to Kenya (12): The Giraffe Centre

The Giraffe Centre was a new experience for Stanley. As he prepared for the safari, Stanley had talked a great deal about how much he likes giraffes, and he was really happy he was going to see them up in the wild. Like many of us, he had a hard time expressing just which animal is his favorite, but as he and Mr. Andrew talked about the giraffe (which is Mr. Andrew's favorite animal), it seemed to me that the giraffe was going to be for Stanley as the elephant is for me. I don't think he realized, though (or perhaps Mr. Andrew and I didn't tell him) that he would have the opportunity to visit with giraffes up close, and in person.

It all happens at the Giraffe Centre in Lang'ata, a suburb of Nairobi. Back in 1979, Jock Leslie-Melville, a Kenyan citizen of British background and his wife Betty built an extraordinary home there and set up a trust to save the endangered Rothschild giraffe. They brought several of the animals to their home (it's now a luxury hotel called Giraffe Manor) and the Giraffe Centre is the educational institution formed to teach young people about giraffes and wildlife in Kenya.

We had a great time at the Giraffe Centre, including hearing a very fine presentation by a young educator who taught us a much about the giraffes. We came away knowing more than we ever expected to know about these beautiful, gentle beasts. And the best part was getting to know them first-hand.

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