Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Lunch at Cafe Ubuntu

We broke up the long drive to Lake Nakuru with lunch at Cafe Ubuntu, outside of Nairobi, and then a short tour of the adjacent workshop.  Cafe Ubuntu is a wonderful project supported by both National Geographic Journeys and G Adventures.  The restaurant serves farm-to-table meals and it is rumored to serve the best coffee in Kenya.  Many in our group enjoyed an after lunch cappuccino (but with a five hour drive ahead, I wisely passed).

The restaurant, workshops and store provide employment for 400 local "mamas" who have children with disabilities.  One young woman told us that Cafe Ubuntu changed her life.  There are medical and educational programs nearby where the children are cared for while their mothers work.

This particular encounter will stay with me for a long long time.  I walked around the workshop, took photographs and had fun talking to the women while they worked.  I tried on several pairs of canvas shoes before finding one that fit.  They were very well made and it turns out I wore them every day for the remainder of the trip.  (My heavy hiking boots got tossed in the back of the Land Cruiser, buried and nearly forgotten!) When I went to pay for my shoes, all the women stopped working and clapped.  I almost cried.

When traveling to a foreign country, especially on a tour, it is difficult to have meaningful one-on-one encounters with the local people.  As I continued the safari, I started to look forward to these "field trips" with more enthusiasm.  The laughter, stories and okay . . .  shillings that exchanged hands, benefited us all.

When I returned home, I washed the dirt and dust off my shoes and let them dry in the sun.  Then I packed them away for the winter.  Next Spring when I go to retrieve them, they will bring a smile to my face.  I will be wearing a little bit of Africa on my feet and think of all the amazing things I did and saw there.

My Ubuntu shoes.

A great souvenir. 

Asante Sana, Ladies!

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