How does a family of cheese makers from central Pennsylvania end up spending a week in Kenya, East Africa? Terry and her siblings spent their childhood in Tanzania, while our grandpa Kraybill managed a hospital. For his eightieth birthday, the Kraybill family decided to spend a week in neighboring Kenya, where Terry’s brother and his family lived and worked at a boarding school. Austin and Nika volunteered to stay and watch the cows, since they traveled to Iceland last February.

After nearly thirty hours of travel and a seven-hour jet lag, we arrived in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Our first outing was a visit to a Kenyan cheese company called Brown’s Cheese. We toured their cheese caves and watched them working five cheese vats at once (unfortunately they did not allow pictures inside). Brown’s Cheese’s over one hundred employees seemed a lot larger scale than our family operation of six. However, this is the third generation of their operation while we are still on our first. We enjoyed a delicious lunch made from products grown or made on their property.

Afterwards, we visited the milking parlor where it was milking time. Brown’s only has a herd of eight to ten cows, the rest of their milk is hauled in each morning in milk cans. Each milk can comes from a different local farm.

We spent an evening and morning at a safari next to the Masai Mara. We experienced a face to face encounter with a snoozing lion, and spotted two hyenas. Our safari guide introduced us to the last two white rhinos on the Kenyan Masai Mara and we learned about the constant guard on duty against poachers. The zebras and giraffes loved to pose for our photos. We visited an elephant orphanage, which cares for elephants that have been orphaned due to poaching or abandoned due to falling into wells. We stopped at the giraffe center, where we got to feed the giraffes and get giraffe kisses.

Our trip ended with a beach vacation on the Mombasa coast. We spent four days enjoying three swimming pools and the Indian ocean. We took a boat trip out to a sandbar for some snorkling.

Our visit to Kenya was amazing. We got to experience another culture, relive some childhood memories from Terry and her siblings, and learn about the differences and similarities of making cheese in different regions of the world. If you ever get a chance to visit another culture, go for it!

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