I Dare You Not to Smile :-)

These days, it’s seems like all of the news is bad. But last week, there was a notable exception. This young Kenyan reporter was doing his best to be professional. But everyone has their limits. Seriously – can you watch this without a smiling, giggling out loud, or feeling a pure moment of joy?

There’s no caveat. I. Love. This.

It’s also a familiar and heartwarming scene, as I visited the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Orphanage in Nairobi on my first ever trip to Africa. I had anticipated that trip for more than 20 years and it did not disappoint. The Orphanage was on my schedule for the morning after I arrived. I was suffering from severe jet lag but this was the perfect remedy. What a great way to jump into the wonders of Africa!

At the time of my visit, the Orphanage was open at set times on just a few days a week. Visitors were allowed one hour and it was magical. First, the keepers brought the elephants out in groups arranged by age.

Once they arrived in the “arena”, they did what elephants do! They ate, drank, rolled around in the dirt and had fun with their mates.

In the (many) years since I visited, this amazing non-profit organization has continued to grow, expand, and serve in new and impactful ways. Founded originally as an orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program, they now run anti-poaching teams, coordinate mobile veterinary units, have established rehabilitation, reintegration and wildlife recovery areas, and run low-impact tourism ecolodges with proceeds supporting their programs. They have been leaders in social movements and played a crucial role in banning all trade in ivory. The Sheldrick Trust has expanded their international reach and now also operates in the US and UK. Dame Daphne Sheldrick passed away in 2018, but her legacy lives on through this important work. Check out their Facebook page here.

Even better, plan the trip of your dreams and stop by in person. You won’t be sorry you did. <3

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