A Promising Farewell
The group from Crawfordsville United Methodist has officially left Kenya and begun the journey back to the U.S. through Ethiopia, Rome, and Washington, D.C. They left with many fascinating tales to tell, photos they will treasure for a lifetime, and relationships at the local level. Here is some of what they experienced the last few days of the trip:
-We journeyed to the small city of Bomet to visit Tenwek Hospital. This is a missionary hospital started by residents of Indiana several decades ago. We toured the beautiful facility with the medical director, learned the history of the institution, met with patients, and heard stories of life overseas from the medical personnel and their families. Our overnight in the Green House was great and the food was top-notch!
-The group immediately fell in love with the Masai Mara upon checking into our tented camps. When they learned that the animals, especially Wildebeest and Zebra, came directly up to the tents in search of food in the evenings, they knew the true adventure had begun. We went out in search of the Big 5 and left having seen unprecedented amounts of animals – 11 cheetahs, over 25 lions, giraffes with babies in tow, thousands of wildebeest migrating, and zebra, antelope, crocodiles, and hippos as far as the eye could see. The special treat came on the early morning safari when the group encountered a pair of mating lions – you can only imagine the comments and abundance of photos taken during this experience!
-Our last day in the Masai Mara took us to a local village so that the group could meet families, learn about their culture and traditions, hear songs, and explore their homes. Little Eli in particular loved this as he got to have his picture taken with a real Masai Warrior – I bet Kara, Steve, and Ellie will have an earful of Masai tales for many months to come!
-On our drive back to Nairobi from the Masai Mara, everyone realized they just HAD to HAVE more souvenirs! So, we stopped along the way at curio shops, markets, street stalls, etc until we finally discovered the Triangle Market in Nairobi and everyone found what they were looking for – from Masai shields to knives to jewelry and beaded sandals – their bags were overflowing with treasures from Kenya.
-On the way to the airport, we stopped at Alive and Kicking to learn about initiatives in creating soccer, net, and volleyballs. This organization employs over 100 employees, pays fair wages, and incorporates messages of HIV/AIDS prevention, malaria safety measures, and other global health concerns on their balls. As their logo mentions, Alive and Kicking…has the balls to make a difference!
This group was so touched by what they saw throughout the trip. Each and every person became attached to the people we met and the places we went. We left with promises of staying involved and spreading awareness about the projects of The Village Experience and their partners in Kenya. Several volunteers even left donations to go directly to the community in the next few weeks.
The Village Experience was truly blessed to be a part of this trip and proud to induct 17 new members into the TVE Club!!