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Giraffes

Have you ever seen a giraffe up close? Feed one? Their sight is as humbling as it is magnificent.They are the tallest mammals in the world, thanks to their towering legs and tall necks. Giraffes are ruminants with many subspecies. In Kenya, you can find giraffes in various parts of the country. I find the Amboseli giraffes to be the most elegant, especially in their long-calculated strides as they parade the lush greens with the beautiful background of Mt Kilimanjaro. The city giraffes at Karen humble and photogenic since they like pausing for photos with visitors, and lake Baringo giraffes to be very social. Their dotted pattern, always stunning to the eye. Did you know giraffes have three hearts? Yes, they do.


I recently heard a story told of giraffes and their calves, and I know you'll enjoy this one. Here it goes. When giraffes give birth to their baby calves, the calves; legs are usually weak. You can imagine supporting 150 pounds immediately after birth, and standing at 6 feet tall can be a lot to ask. These aside, imagine expecting them to stand after falling 8 feet to the ground immediately after their birth, which is something baby giraffes have to endure.

What happens next surprised me. The mother kicks her calf with some people saying that often they are kicked so hard they fly up in the air and fall back to the ground. Now picture this kick on the calf having in mind that a giraffe’s kick generates up to 2000 pounds of force per square inch. That's a lot of force, and a lot more pain for the calf to endure. Upon hitting the ground, the baby giraffe is hit by another
kick and then another. By this time, the calf has already seen the pattern, and due to the pain, it's suffering, by the third kick, the baby giraffe knows if it doesn't stand up and run, it'll again be kicked. This pushes the calf to force its feeble legs to support its weight and run to safety from its loving mother and her destructive kicks. The mother then follows the calf and cuddles with it, having taught the calf its most important life lesson.


You see in life; we often get the same treatment from life. Unfortunately, many times we don't see it. We continue to whine how life is unfair but fail to act as the calf did. Life many a time throws at us crippling kicks so that we can learn a lesson, take action and grow. If we ignore the first kick, it does it again and again until the lesson is learned. If we do not act on the lesson, it can be fatal for us, however, when we embrace the pain and circumstance and choose to look at the struggle as a lesson, act, and move from it, we prosper. The lesson the calf learns from the mother is many times it will have to get up and run in the face of danger since the mother cannot protect it 100% of the time.

Predators also know for a fact that the calf kick is not as harmful, the legs not as fast and the skin tender hence a perfect opportunity for food. The kicks are but preparations for survival and growth. As the giraffe and its baby calf, may we also learn from life hard kicks and act, move, or at least do something to the crippling kicks we may have suffered to avoid them in the future.

The kicks aside, imagine a giraffe with a sore throat.

Kinge Kelvin,
July 4, 2021

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