Photo of the Day – Giraffe Center

Nairobi, Kenya
June 2007

The Giraffe Centre, located Langata, approximately 5 km from the centre of Nairobi, Kenya, was established in order to protect the endangered Rothschild giraffe, giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi, that is found only in the grasslands of East Africa.

The Giraffe Center was started by Jock Leslie-Melville, the Kenyan grandson of a Scottish Earl, when he and his wife Betty captured a baby giraffe to start a programme of breeding giraffe in captivity at their home in Langata – home of the present centre. Since then the programme has had huge success, resulting in the introduction of several breeding pairs of Rothschild Giraffe into Kenyan national parks.

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The sky was beautiful that night.

The sky was beautiful that night beside the lake. Massive storm clouds were sweeping east across the black palette of the night sky with a mission to saturate the world in fresh summer rain. Deep in the heart of these billowing clusters of vapor, lightning flashed making them appear as giant Chinese lanterns that were being switched on and off. Far below, the dark waters of the lake churned in the vein of an eager mob anticipating the approaching storm. White caps skirted the sand, reaching further with each progressing tide, pushed by swells that rolled swiftly from the murky haze where the sea and sky met.

From the safety of the shore, two twenty-somethings stood on the course-grained sand observing this parade. The momentary silence that had settled over them gave the man a moment to appreciate the scene unfolding before him. Was it cliché finding beauty in the calm before the storm or simply a helpless appreciation that everyone felt, regardless of conditions? Was there beauty on the brink of calamity? Playing fair, was there horror on the border of tranquility? He smiled to himself, and filed that thought away for another time.

His toes dug into the sand and he found himself once again rooted firmly in the here and now. Ah, the joy of the cool sand between his toes. The smell of the sea in his lungs. The force of the wind around his shoulders. It was the physical feelings that made him increasingly conscious of all the many places life could take him, never expecting to be here. Or with these people. But that’s how the story progressed; always a mystery, always a page turner and forever surprising him. It was this anticipation that kept him motivated, kept him pushing forward, always eager for tomorrow.

Let’s not forget, the girl who stood close beside him, cutting a swath through her own internal thoughts, arms folded in a pose she had become so famous for, the one where he wasn’t sure if she was cold or contemplating. As she opened up about all the things that were troubling her, he hung on every word. Her mind seemed as tumultuous as the approaching storm. So many things worrying her it was a mystery how they all fit into that head of hers. He commented occasionally, trying to help where he could; slightly pained that there was only so much he could do, slightly, jealous he couldn’t open himself up in the same way she could. But wholly happy with everything between them.