We left the lodge before the crack of dawn today so we could get to the crater early. Before we left we had fried eggs, toast with local honey and crepes for breakfast.
The drive to the crater was a couple of hours and pitch black. Once the sun started coming out we saw some great scenery with the crater ridge and the fog/clouds rolling in low.
So here's what we saw:
The drive was so much fun. We saw SO many animals, had a picnic and got to get out and walk around! (And there were NO fences or anything) We climbed a neat looking tree and saw some breath-taking vistas on the way back up the crater.
I feel like God told me today - as I observed all those animals just being - being still, living in the moment - that sometimes I need to do that too. Just. Be.
Around 3pm we headed to the next lodge - which I thought we'd never get to. The Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge is un-be-lievable. It's like a 5-star experience. The tents are walk-in-style, have plumbing, electricity and a porch with a view you wouldn't believe.
And the best part? The lodge supports the Rhotia Valley Childrens' Home and it employs people from the (very poor) village of Rhotia.
The owners took us through the home and showed us around.
This place is awesome. I really felt bad at first for staying at this lodge (even though it was out of our hands, the Safari Co. chose it). But then I felt like God was telling me two things - 1) Accept it. Enjoy it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Missionaries don't always have to sleep in mud-huts and tents, take this opportunity to bask in My presence and be thankful. And 2) If you weren't staying here, that childrens' home wouldn't be getting funds. You are blessing them by your stay here.
So major props to the Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge/Childrens' Home - it is an amazing place that strives for excellence. The owners are awesome and have big hearts, humble spirits and welcoming smiles. I would go there again in a heartbeat!
Even as I proof-read this before publishing the blog, I'm seeing that I wasn't really listening to God. I heard him tell me JUST BE during the game drive, but when we got to the lodge I was so concerned about being a missionary 'living in luxury' that I wasn't obeying the words God spoke to me just hours ago that day. He wanted me to Just. Be. I love looking back and seeing how God works :)