Saturday, March 29, 2014

We're back

We made it home safely to a cold Wisconsin.Everything went smoothly at the airport (except they lost Josiah and Robb's check in). It was great to see all the families waiting for their loved ones to get off the bus. We can truly say we spread HOPE in Africa and have come home a changed person. We hope that this trip has opened the eyes (and hearts) of all the team members and we are sure they will continue to reach out to those in need no matter where they are. We had a great team, from Josiah (the team leader and youngest at 24) to Corinne (the oldest at 89), each team member brought their own valuable gifts to share. So, though we are saying good bye for now, we will see you all at the picture party!!!Thanks to all the family and friends for your prayers and support.

Thanks Rachel, Andrea, Marci, Jen, Robb, Beth, Josiah, Lance and Corinne for coming to Africa and being willing to take time out of your busy schedules to give HOPE.We hope you all come back.

Side note: On the flight home from Brussels to Chicago we heard an overhead page for a doctor or nurse to come to the back of the plane-we had plenty of them with us. It ended up being a minor problem that Dr. Laura and Dr. Robb were able to take care of.

Mama Julie (Parve)

sad to leave

We are on our way home! We are in Brussels right now for a lay over and then we have a 8 hour flight to Chicago.

Yesterday we had an early morning game drive and saw more gazelles, lots of elephants, ostriches and jackals. When we left the park we just missed hitting some running giraffes who crossed the road in front of us, they roam free here like deer in Wisconsin. Next we did some shopping and then off to the airport. The Kenya Hope Without Borders staff gave us a wonderful send off.

We all share a bond that will keep us friends. Of course the team is missing their families.....see you all soon.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Journey

After our much needed leisure day in Mombasa, we travelled 8 hours via extremely bumpy gravel roads to Amboseli National Park for a safari! Our drivers call the bumpy roads "a free massage." The trip was uneventful but full of moments that will forever be in our memories. At one point we wiped our faces with wipes and were horrified of how dirty the wipes were. The dust was unbearable at times.
We made several friends throughout the drive. Children love waving and calling out to us as we drive by. They spot us from a mile away.
We saw several animals on the way and gorgeous scenery. Pictures do not do this place justice.
Giraffes, zebras, cows, goats, elephants, and there's a...bird oh my!
We arrived at Amboseli around 1600. Cheetahs greeted us shortly after we entered the park. Josiah was pumped because he's been to Africa four times and has never seen a cheetah.
We watched two cheetahs stalk a very brave and confident gazelle for quite awhile. They must have had a big breakfast because they did not execute the mission we were all patiently waiting for.

We  drove around for around 2 hours and saw....
Crown crested cranes
Ibis birds
Bustard birds name a few.

Our drivers are amazing and very knowledgable about the animals. We ask A LOT of questions; they have the patience of saints. They are able to teach  us about every animal we see. Simon and David have been with us from day one and are two of the kindest human beings on the planet. We are certain that gentler souls do not exist. It will be hard to say goodbye to our new friends.

We were also able to see the base of Mount Kilimanjaro several kilometers from our destination.  We were hoping, praying, and crossing everything we could  so we would be able to see the summit while on the safari. It is often called the 'shy mountain' because it clothes its peak with clouds. As we were on the safari, Mama Julie mentioned that she thought she spotted the peak. Apparently we are all mountain experts because we quickly corrected her telling her that was definitely not the peak.
A few minutes later, the clouds parted and revealed a large portion of the peak. Mama Julie, please forgive us for doubting you :)

We were all in awe of the beauty of the land and the ability to see animals  (that we only see on TV or magazines or internet) in their natural habitat.

At Serena lodge, we met up with the Tanzania team. We were able to enjoy a hot shower (something we have not experienced in 9 days) and had an amazing dinner.

A few of us played a  card game of  Pick and had a blast. Not that we are keeping track...but, Kenya team 2 Tanzania team 1.

Tomorrow we are off to another safari at 0600 followed by breakfast and a visit with the Maasai tribe that lives off the land in the park.

Our journey is coming to an end. A sign of a great trip is when we refuse to talk about going back to reality. Of course we want to see our loved ones, but we would love to spend more time on this beautiful continent.

Reflecting on our experience here, we have discussed the importance of not taking anything in life for granted, the importance of serving others, and doing whatever we can to make the world a better place. We have witnessed firsthand how small acts of kindness can truly make a difference.

On behalf of Josiah, Robb, Beth, Andrea, Rachel, Corrine, and Jen, thank you all for your support, prayers, understanding, and love. I am certain that we will all return to Africa someday and we will remain friends for life.

Tomorrow we will leave African soil and return to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The memories we have made and people we have met will forever be in our hearts. We are all truly grateful for this opportunity to work with Hope Without Borders. Lance and Julie are the most selfless, loving, and caring people on the planet.

 Kwaheri kwa sasa


We have awesome pictures to share. We will post them tomorrow! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Much needed day of leisure....

Today was a little cooler thank god! We started the day with a large breakfast so we would be set for the day. Then we went to Whitesand Seroba, a beachside hotel, for a day of luxury. The team enjoyed tropical drinks by the beach, shopping for trinkets and artifacts, dodging shop owners saying, "sister/brother PROMOTE ME," and riding camels named bob, charlie, and george; even corinne didn't need convining. Some highlights of the day were signs that said, "NO SMOKING, violaters will be shot, survivors will be shot again," and trading my 9$ american eagle sandels plus 1500 ksh for a HUGE hippo made of wood (thanks marci for letting me borrow an extra pair of sandels), Robb was lucky enough to leave with his shirt, which was a hot commodity, though his pen wasnt as lucky... A nice bar named Cocoa beach bar was awesome and used for some more tropical drinks and some extra R & R. Lance vanished for an hour because he went on a catamaran, which he continuously brags he thoroughly enoyed. We then ate dinner at Sarova and continued home to eat our freshly caught lobster and tuffie. Now we will swim in the pool to brush the sand off our bodies until we are tired for sleep. Tomorrow we will be venturing into the Amboseli park to meet the tanzania team in the Serena lodge. I can't wait to eat there, and seeing some animals is always a plus. Goodnight and thanks for staying tuned! All is well and the team is doing great.

-Josiah out

Roughing it......

Fresh lobster and fish  fresh from the Indian Ocean

Corinne and Julie riding a camel.

 Robb and Marci on camel back.

Andrea and Rachel taking a ride.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


The team in Kibera slums

Hot day

We left Nairobi this morning at 8 ish and our 8 hour ride turned into a 12 hour ride journey in sweltering heat. The team consensus was that it was in the 90's with at least 50% humidity.  We had a brief shower but not enough to cool things off. Josiah fell asleep and woke up burned on his arm and half his face not a good combination in the heat.

We stopped in Voi to visit Sister Gen at the St. Joseph's Hospital, clinic and HIV outreach Center where they serve an area of 50,000 people were HIV/AIDS is rampant. They have an orphanage too but most of the orphans are put in foster homes. We were able to give them much needed medicine and supplies including scrubs from Robb. They were needing scrubs and jumped for joy when they opened the bags of scrubs.

When we got to our Villa the cook did not make any sauce for our spaghetti, so people just used ketchup, Everyone has been a trooper today including Corinne (who we all call grandma) She slept a few hours in the sweltering car and never complained once and she was even cracking some jokes.

Tomorrow we are off to the Indian Ocean to find another adventure, so stay tuned!