A Voice For the Voiceless


The Advocacy Project (AP) recruits students to help marginalized communities tell their story and claim their rights.

My RSS Feed

Twitter: #apfellows

There is no such thing as too many baby elephants. Or AP Fellows.

Kristen Maryn | PostedJuly 5th, 2011 | Africa

Tags: , , , , ,

A quick diversion from work, in honor of 4th of July.  This weekend, Charlotte and Cleia took a break from Enoosean to relax in the city.  Relaxing in Nairobi sounds counter-intuitive, but when you are coming from the Maasai bush, hot showers and grocery stores are welcome.  So finally, the Kenya branch of AP was united.

Kenya AP Fellows
Kenya AP Fellows

On Sunday, after convincing Cleia to join us, we made the trek down to Nairobi National Park near Karen and tried to make friends with the baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage.  The orphanage takes in and rehabilitates orphaned elephants until they can be released into the wild – typically in Tsavo National Park.  For most, this takes over ten years, and there are different levels of care and human interaction the elephants receive, depending on their age.

The orphanage opens its doors to the public every morning (and evening if you decide to “foster” an elephant) and presents its babies to everyone (you can see profiles of the babies on the website!).  It is informal and comfortable (minus the jostling of wzungu), and the trainers encourage the elephants to interact with the crowd.  By the end of the hour, even Cleia had joined Team Baby Elephant.  There were quite a few squeals of joy among us.  And hundreds of photos.

The first group was the babiest of the babies (the Nursery Herd), including 9-month old Naipoki (wearing the blanket – meant to reduce the risk of pneumonia).

The Nursery Herd
The Nursery Herd


The second group was older, around 2 to 3 years old.  This is right when they start developing tusks and about the age they get weened off the milk.

The Elder Herd
The Elder Herd

Feeding Time
Feeding Time

The bond between the elephants and the keepers was incredible and enviable (at least for me).

Follow the Leader
Follow the Leader

Handy Arm Rest
Handy Arm Rest

A highlight was definitely the dog-pile that ensued right before the babies were led out.  What hams!

The Dog-pile Begins
The Dog-pile Begins

The orphanage does not discriminate and has rescued countless other animals, including a baby black rhino, which due to its blindness, was abandoned by its mother.

Baby Black Rhino
Baby Black Rhino

Mama Baboon
Mama Baboon

We also discovered this baboon family, complete with a baby hanging onto the mom’s belly (Dad had already run into the trees).  The mom was none too interested in us, which was probably for the better.  As the center is situated in Nairobi National Park, getting there requires driving through land still controlled by animals…including lions.  So we were quickly ushered back into the car.

I really enjoyed getting to know Cleia and Charlotte; it was great to hear about their experiences with the Kakenya Center.  I am looking forward to eventually getting to see Enoosean to get a feel for Maasai life, but it was also nice to share mine with them.

As always, more photos are available on Flickr.

Tags: , , , , ,

2 Responses to “There is no such thing as too many baby elephants. Or AP Fellows.”

  1. iain says:

    Let’s hear it for the animals! You’re just a big softy. (But we all feel so sorry for the blind baby rhino…) As for those three girls in the top photo: give them a banana! Glad that you could relax: you need the break.

  2. Pegah says:

    What a lovely post, Kristen! I’m very glad to hear that all of the AP Kenya girls were able to take a day off to get to know one another and to share such a wonderful experience together.

Leave a Reply

Security Code:

Fellow: Kristen Maryn



Africa art Budget cards children Coalition debate dogs eviction Evictions expansion Gigiri government hair salon Hakijamii Home housing Kenya Kenyatta Kibera market Mathare Ministry Mukuru Nairobi Ngazi Ya Chini NPSN Pamoja Trust plants railroad Railway Rights river school settlements slum slums Swahili The Advocacy Project Title tourism water women work plan World Bank




2013 Fellows


Benan Grams
Meron Menwyelet
Mohammed Alshubrumi
John Steies


Andra Bosneag
Chris Pinderhughes
Emily MacDonald
Jasveen Bindra
Kelly Howell
Raymond Aycock
Sujita Basnet

Middle East

Mona Niebuhr

2012 Fellows


Dane Macri
Laura McAdams
Mallory Minter
Megan Orr
Oluwatooni Akanni
Katie Hoffman


Adam Kruse
Alex Kelly
Alicia Evangelides
Heather Webb
Jesse Cottrell
Matthew Becker
Rachel Palmer


Claire Noone
Elise Filo

Latin America

Laura Burns

Middle East

Nur Arafeh
Thayer Hastings

North America

Caroline Risacher

2011 Fellows


Charlie Walker
Charlotte Bourdillon
Cleia Noia
Dina Buck
Jamyel Jenifer
Kristen Maryn
Rebecca Scherpelz
Scarlett Chidgey
Walter James


Amanda Lasik
Chantal Uwizera
Chelsea Ament
Clara Kollm
Corey Black
Lauren Katz
Maelanny Purwaningrum
Maria Skouras
Meredith Williams
Ryan McGovern
Samantha Syverson


Beth Wofford
Julia Dowling
Quinn Van Valer-Campbell
Samantha Hammer
Susan Craig-Greene

Latin America

Amy Bracken
Catherine Binet

Middle East

Nikki Hodgson

North America

Sarah Wang

2010 Fellows


Abisola Adekoya
Annika Allman
Brooke Blanchard
Christine Carlson
Christy Gillmore
Dara Lipton
Dina Buck
Josanna Lewin
Joya Taft-Dick
Louis Rezac
Ned Meerdink
Sylvie Bisangwa


Adrienne Henck
Karie Cross
Kerry McBroom
Kate Bollinger
Lauren Katz
Simon Kläntschi
Zarin Hamid


Laila Zulkaphil
Susan Craig-Greene
Tereza Bottman

Latin America

Karin Orr

North America

Adepeju Solarin
Oscar Alvarado

2009 Fellows


Adam Welti
Alixa Sharkey
Barbara Dziedzic
Bryan Lupton

Courtney Chance
Elisa Garcia
Helah Robinson
Johanna Paillet
Johanna Wilkie
Kate Cummings
Laura Gordon
Lisa Rogoff
Luna Liu
Ned Meerdink
Walter James


Abhilash Medhi
Gretchen Murphy
Isha Mehmood
Jacqui Kotyk
Jessica Tirado
Kan Yan
Morgan St. Clair
Ted Mathys


Alison Sluiter
Christina Hooson
Donna Harati
Fanny Grandchamp
Kelsey Bristow
Simran Sachdev
Susan Craig-Greene
Tiffany Ommundsen

Latin America

Althea Middleton-Detzner
Carolyn Ramsdell
Jessica Varat
Lindsey Crifasi
Rebecca Gerome
Zachary Parker

Middle East

Corrine Schneider
Rachel Brown
Rangineh Azimzadeh

North America

Elizabeth Mandelman
Farzin Farzad

2008 Fellows

Adam Nord
Annelieke van de Wiel
Juliet Hutchings
Kristina Rosinsky
Lucas Wolf
Chi Vu
Danita Topcagic
Heather Gilberds
Jes Therkelsen
Libby Abbott
Mackenzie Berg
Nicole Farkouh
Ola Duru
Paul Colombini
Raka Banerjee
Shubha Bala
Antigona Kukaj
Colby Pacheco
James Dasinger
Janet Rabin
Nicole Slezak
Shweta Dewan
Amy Offner
Ash Kosiewicz
Hannah McKeeth
Heidi McKinnon
Larissa Hotra
Hannah Wright
Krystal Sirman
Rianne Van Doeveren
Willow Heske

2007 Fellows

Johnathan Homer
Adam Nord
Audrey Roberts
Caitlin Burnett
Devin Greenleaf
Jeff Yarborough
Julia Zoo
Madeline England
Maha Khan
Mariko Scavone
Mark Koenig
Nicole Farkouh
Saba Haq
Tassos Coulaloglou
Ted Samuel
Alison Morse
Gail Morgado
Jennifer Hollinger
Katie Wroblewski
Leslie Ibeanusi
Michelle Lanspa
Stephanie Gilbert
Zach Scott
Abby Weil
Jessica Boccardo
Sara Zampierin
Eliza Bates
Erin Wroblewski
Tatsiana Hulko

2006 Interns

Laura Cardinal
Jessical Sewall
Alison Long
Autumn Graham
Donna Laverdiere
Erica Issac
Greg Holyfield
Lori Tomoe Mizuno
Melissa Muscio
Nicole Cordeau
Stacey Spivey
Anya Gorovets
Barbara Bearden
Lynne Engleman
Yvette Barnes
Charles Wright
Sarah Sachs

2005 Interns

Eun Ha Kim
Malia Mason
Anne Finnan
Carrie Hasselback
Karen Adler
Sarosh Syed
Shirin Sahani
Chiara Zerunian
Ewa Sobczynska
MacKenzie Frady
Margaret Swink
Sabri Ben-Achour
Nitzan Goldberger

2004 Interns

Ginny Barahona
Michael Keller
Sarah Schores
Melinda Willis
Pia Schneider
Stacy Kosko
Carmen Morcos
Christina Fetterhoff
Stacy Kosko
Bushra Mukbil

2003 Interns

Erica Williams
Kate Kuo
Claudia Zambra
Julie Lee
Kimberly Birdsall
Marta Schaaf
Caitlin Williams
Courtney Radsch