Thursday, July 30, 2009

The time has arrived to kick off our Kenyan adventure. We depart from Newark Airport this evening - accompanied by 21 Groton students and faculty member, Laurie Sales - on the first leg of our journey. We arrive in Nairobi tomorrow evening and will head directly to the Maasai Lodge, located at the edge of Nairobi National Park. We will spend two nights at this fascinating spot, acclimating and pinching ourselves at the sight of big game that wander freely throughout the park. Here we will be joined by Ross Wehner, founder of World Leadership School, and his wife, Renee del Gaudio, architect of the dining hall we will be constructing at Oloika School. On Sunday we head to Shompole, our final destination.
Cindy is worried about the heat and has packed a small fan that can be recharged with a solar battery charger. Given the reality that water will be scare, she has also purchased assorted "scrubbies" in hopes that she will be able to stay - and feel - relatively clean! During our March trip to Kenya, Cindy was fortunate enough to spend significant time with Wangari Mathai, founder of the Green Belt movement and winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Peace prize. She highly recommends Wangari's new book, The Challenge for Africa, as an introduction to the issues we will be directly confronting in Shompole.
We will make our next post once we arrive in Kenya. The attached photos show the dining hall we will be constructing at Shompole, and Fred with Peter, his homestay"father," and Nixon, a terrifically knowledgable widelife guide at the surrounding game reserve. Both men are Maasai and members of the Shompole Community.

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