A Catalog of Exotic Lands - April 2018 - 5
Ken Dychtwald and his family make a heartfelt
connection with Kenya.
To be honest, Africa wasn't at the top of our must-see
list. We still have active careers, so it's hard to get
away. Ken doesn't love adventure travel. Maddy hates
bugs. But friends had come back with incredible photos from a safari, and we thought, "Let's do this."
We got a recommendation to go with Micato Safaris and were assured they'd keep us comfortable
and safe. In unfamiliar situations, whether walking
through a village at night or going up in hot-air
balloons, we never felt in danger. That opens up a
world of possibilities - it's like being a child in wonder mode again.
(GIRAFFES) BY RDYAK/GETTY IMAGES,
(FAMILY) KEN DYCHTWALD
The profound sense of peace surprised us. Here we
were in a field with thousands of zebras, mighty
lions napping not far from baby rhinos nursing, and
elephants in the distance. It was collaboration and
simple coexistence, sharing land and light and water and resources. Everything is interconnected in a
very precise way. It really kind of knocks you out!
On the last day of the trip, Micato took us to visit
the AmericaShare orphanage in Nairobi's Mukuru
slum. After the past week and a half, we felt relaxed, as if we'd been cleansed. Then, suddenly,
we were in an intense metropolis, staring into the
eyes of destitute people. But the more we talked
to these children and women, the more we realized
that the orphanage and school were an oasis. People left behind by ill parents and poverty are getting a second chance. Some of our guides had been
through the program, and we met other young
people who are now medical students or engineers.
It touched us all so profoundly: Our kids decided to sponsor two children, and we sponsored
eight more. Over the next few years, and perhaps
decades, we plan to stay connected with them and
stay connected to Africa in ways we never imagined. A deep part of all of us is anchored there now.
Giraffes in Kenya and (inset)
the Dychtwalds on safari.
- As told to David Hochman
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