Date: Wed, 11 Dec
1996 10:15:50 -0500
> On Tue, 10 Dec
1996, Jim Farrell wrote:
> I am impressed. Some details please.
And JMW wrote:
> Yea, Em, spill.
Sure. In early 1989 my mother and I went to Kenya and Tanzania on a tour offered by the Los Angeles Zoo Association. One of the reasons this trip appealed to us so much was that its leaders were two zoo veterinarians, who promised lectures and interesting vet-insights on all these incredible animals we would be seeing.
One of these vets, and wonderful man and expert birder named Ben Gonzalez, had spent a lot of time on bird projects in East Africa, including something conservation-related with Richard Leakey (the details of which I can't remember). Anyway, Ben brought us all to Nairobi, and on the morning of our first full day there we were taken to the National Museum to meet Mary Leakey (a *real* treat for this one-time anthro major!).
She was very gracious and pleasant, and I remember being surprised how petite she was. She gave us a tour of the grounds and a short talk about her work and her "pets" (baboons, ostriches I think, and some giraffes she was nursing back to health), and then we left for our camping trip in the Masai Mara. Somewhere at home (in CA, not CT) I have a photograph of her with our group on the front steps of the museum, and some others of her chatting with my mother and one of our neighbors who also went on this trip - I'm going to have to drag those out when I go home next weekend.
Anyway, that trip to Africa was one of the most exciting (meeting Mary Leakey, taking a balloon ride over the Serengeti), scariest (hearing a lion outside our tent), disgusting (seeing a lion kill a water buffalo), awesome (watching a wildebeest being born) experiences of my life so far, and I hope I get the chance to do something like it again.