June 10th, 2019

So much has happened since my last post and we have really been buried in the realities of life - I feel like I am just coming up for air!

If you follow my blog you will now about the Rhino Charge, a unique race for a field of 65 modified 4WDrives over appalling difficult terrain to raise money for Rhino Ark, a huge environmental project, is a big event in our year. Anthony’s family have put in a vehicle (Car 49) for many years, driven by his brother-in-law, navigated by his father, and with Anthony and I part of the rest of the family team. For Anthony and I, is to run ahead through often-impenetrable and always uncomfortable bush, to try and find a way through for our car. A distance of around 25 kms takes a good ten hours to accomplish, and often requires winching up and down cliffs. It is challenging, exhausting, and often dangerous: winching a car down a 40 foot cliff is par for the course - but we love every minute of it!

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In early June last year I finished the Rhino Charge feeling far more uncomfortable, battered and exhausted than in any other previous year, so took myself off to the doctor for a check-up. To my horror, I found out that we were expecting another child – not horror at the news which was extremely welcome - but horror at what my poor unborn baby had been through, being bounced around like a ping-pong ball, both in the car and running and scrambling up and down for ten exhausting hours in 31 degrees of heat. I was terrified some harm might have been done to this child.

Rhino Charge Support Teams

As soon as I was told the news, I went online (and by the way, do not EVER do this) to see if many people at 7 weeks pregnant would have experienced something similar to what my foetus had endured. The closest I got was this -

‘Question: - Whilst on the Easter Bank Holiday, my husband and I took a long weekend break to Devon. On one of the days, we decided to explore the area and in driving to our destination our vehicle had to go on a dirt road which was rather bumpy. Will this affect my 14 week old baby?’

Answer “Although there is evidence that taking a bumpy car ride is not advisable, rest assured that mild bumps won't harm your baby either. ... However, before taking a car ride that's likely to jolt you around, get some advice from your GP or midwife.”

Needless to say, I spent the next 31 weeks filled with guilt and apprehension that I had done irreparable damage to my baby.

Fly Fishers Sandro Abbonizio

Photo Credit Sandro Abbonizio

She was due on the 15th of January so we decided that we would take the New Year off and spend it with friends on the slopes of Mt. Kenya on a trout fishing trip, before our family became three. On the 30th of December, we made the long trip up to Kenya Trout Fishers on a ‘mildly bumpy road’ and got there in time for lunch, followed by a spot of fishing before the sun went down. Had I known that it would be our last sunset as a family of four, I would have made more of an effort to catch the pesky trout that kept avoiding my fly, rather than return back to camp for a cup of tea and a digestive.

Alexandra

Alexandra Childs was born at 3:21am on the 31st of December, 2 weeks early by emergency Caesarian. It was a rather traumatising experience, more so for Anthony who had to drive the 3 hour drive back to Nairobi just before midnight, on definitely bumpy roads, with a very unhappy wife in the back seat not only giving back-seat instructions but also listing the provisions for my Last Will and Testament. It was all a blur for me and when the sun came up the following morning the reality of what had happened began to set in.

The urgency of our return to Nairobi meant we had to leave our other 2 children asleep in the camp with the rest of the fishing party, who woke in the morning to find somebody in Mum and Dad’s bed and a “Whatsap” image of their new sister, Alexandra, a healthy seven-pounder. Anthony paused for a brief sleep and then returned to the camp to be with the children, whilst I stayed in hospital with the new baby. Welcome to our world, Alexandra Ayton Childs!

And then there were Three

Meanwhile back at The Emakoko quite a lot happened, Christmas and New year went by and the Nairobi National Park wildlife performed as it should throughout the festivities. We had Leopard and Lion in camp and our wonderful Black Rhino continued to midnight feast outside room Two, much to the delight of our guests.

Our ‘shiny new’ private House continues to be a hit, the best spot in camp to watch the sun go down over the Ngong hills.

The Private House

Photo Credit GOH Iromoto

The funicular is ALMOST ready..........we just need some guinea pigs to try it out...any takers?

Funicular

We have settled back into camp life as a family of 5 and it is quite different having a new-born being carried around the main areas. She is of course a hit with guests - who does not love a new born baby? I am a little worried that she may be attracting a few unwanted visitors. Only last night we had a Leopard in the car park, who rather then melt away into the bushes when our game drive cars came back in, decided that he would walk the bridge only to come face to face with Abraham our night watchman. Thankfully no harm done and our spotted friend decided to beat a hasty retreat back towards the car park and into the bush.

The joys of raising a family in Africa!

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Photo Credit Paras Chandaria