Sunday, May 27, 2018

Work and Fun

After almost eight hours of driving, we arrived in Tanzania yesterday looking forward to a little relaxation and a good nights sleep. Little did we know we would be comparing the many night time noises at breakfast this morning. We climbed into bed hearing the Muslim call to prayer for a good hour. Some found it soothing, others ... Then a couple dogs both near and far decided to let us know they were out there. And lastly, the horn honking at 5 am.

Moshi,Tanzania is a beautiful area. It is green, beautiful and lush. The blooming banana trees were quite a site.  We had a wonderful dinner and breakfast. We spent the morning at an orphanage for abled and disabled children. The kids were wonderful to be around and such a joy. They were thrilled to have visitors and show us their dance skills and singing abilities. We played "London bridges", ring around the rosy, hokie pokie, and others. We all had a blast.

Next we visited the Ancient Chagga Cave and learned the history behind the building of the caves and the conflict between the Chagga and Masaai tribes. We climbed down into the caves and had to crouch down low to get through the narrow passages. While living in the caves, the Chagga outsmarted the masaai for many generations with clever architecture including fake air vents, winding tunnels to minimize noise and cow skin to block out the chemical warfare. We couldn't believe that at one time there were cows living in these caves as well. Today the tribes live in peace and we met a few people from the Chagga tribe including our own Dr. Faraha.

We then moved onto Ndoro Waterfalls. The water level was much higher and the falls much stronger than in past years. The wind and mist coming off the waterfall was like getting a shower at 50 miles an hour. It was a challenging walk down with slipper paths, but the views were breath taking. The "Shy Mountain" is  living up to her name, we have yet to been able to see the top of her. She is hidden in the clouds, we are hoping that by the time we leave she will show us her peak.

We then got to do a little shopping of course... we had fun spending out hard earned money on our treasures to take home.

Until tomorrow,

Susie and Jess

Friday, May 25, 2018

A Day of Fun

After spending 4 days visiting schools in the slums of Nairobi and running a medical clinic, we took the day off to see the sights.  We visited Lake Naivasha which is northwest of Nairobi by about 2 hours (or 93 km).

Along the way we visited the shops on the hills of the Rift Valley.  Many of us bought a variety of carvings, batiks and jewelry.  Some were better negotiators than others and the proprietors were pretty good at negotiating as well.  But in the end, all were happy with their new purchases.

On the top of this ridge, we also saw baboons and some animals that looked like large goundhogs.  And if you looked off in the distance, they said those straw huts were for a Maasai tribe.  It was pretty far away so we couldn't say if he was pulling our leg or not.

The roads along this ridge were extremely narrow - barely enough for 2 lanes - with significant drop off on both sides of the road.  And the drivers and walkers along this road seemed to "use the force" to avoid getting hit.

However the real treat of the day was the boat ride to Crescent Island on the lake.  Along the way we saw fish eagles, egrets, pelicans and hippopotamus - yes, hippos.  They were scary when they were under the water.  Nobody was sure where they would come up and our canoes were no match for these big animals.

On the island, which locals say has a place in the film Out of Africa, we saw giraffe, monkey, gazelle, impala, antelope, wildebeest, zebra and more we couldn't recognize.  We were able to walk among these beautiful animals as there were no predators on the island.  We also walked down a long dirt road which many speculated was the airstrip in the film.  However, we all vowed to watch the film again to look for familiar sights and certainly the airstrip.

It was a long day when we arrived back to our lodge about 7:30 p.m. - way after dark.  But all felt the awe in seeing these animals in the wild when we normally only see them in the zoo.  Just a great day.

Cindy and Terry

Thursday, May 24, 2018

First Medical Camp

Today we spent the day running a medical camp in Athi River. It was our first medical camp since we arrived here in Kenya and it was a whirlwind to say the least. The medical camp involved us setting up four stations which each included an interpreter, NP student, patient and NP provider. We also had an intake station where vitals were taken and patients triaged, and a pharmacy station where patients could pick up their medications right on site. We were able to see patients from a few months old to the elderly and saw everything from cough to more acute concerns like a penguin with a tummy ache. We are too tired to do a final count tonight, but know we saw at least 150 patients today!

We were grateful for donations of reading glasses as we set up an eye assessment station and were able to provide a lot of patients with much needed reading glasses. The day started out a little slower as we students were “learning the ropes,” but quickly sped up as the line grew significantly longer of patients waiting to be seen. We caught on just as it was getting dark, but continued to work into the night with flashlights and headlamps to make sure we were able to see all of those that were waiting.

A daily reinforced lesson here in Kenya has been appreciation and perspective. We have been constantly reminded this trip of just how easy we have it in the United States. The needs of those here in Kenya where medical care, food, clean water and shelter are not a guarantee are daily struggles that many of us will never truly understand. We hope this blog will give you a small peak into the immense poverty that exists in this world, not so you will have crippling guilt, but so you will have empowering guilt that will force you into action. This trip has propelled 15 more people into heightened knowledge and emotional attachment with and of the communities here. We are so blessed to have been given this experience as it will most definitely have a ripple effect many years after the trip is already over. Many of us have already said this will not be our last trip to Africa!


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Oh the places we have gone.....

Jambo Rafiki! It was a "glorious" day in Kenya today! The sun was shining and the weather was beautiful! Our hosts have been wonderful and the food has been amazing. We are so happy to be here and the people we have been seeing have shown us nothing but love and gratitude. We have seen quite a bit of wildlife so far just driving but this morning we were blessed from a visit by the local impalas.

Our group traveled into Mukuru slum today to visit two schools and bring them donations. This area has been hit hard by rains and flooding so the mud and sewage was really bad. Our vans weren't able to get all the way in to both schools so we did have to to walk a bit. The first school was one that has been blessed by the love and support of one of our own's parents for many years. Noelle's mother first visited the Glorious Land Academy and Secondary School on a mission trip and when she saw how much they were in need she decided to do something. Over the years the school has grown and is quite the testament to what can be done and how far they can go with the support they need. They teach over 500 primary and secondary school children ages 4 to 18 and many of them go on to get college degrees. Noelle was quite the celebrity at this school and we received a very special welcome and program put on by the children and teachers. Our Hope Without Borders group brought the Red Elephant packs to the girls there and handed out 170 packs! The girls were very thankful and many of them were so happy they said they wouldn't have to miss school for a week each month anymore! It is a great feeling to know we are helping them stay in school!  Thank you for the support of the Rotary Club.

The second school is on the other side of the same slum unfortunately they are much less fortunate. It was shocking to see the difference and yet the children there are just as eager to learn as any of the others we have seen. Our guys brought the Blue Lion packs in for all the boys there which is a new program from Hope Without Borders (HWB). One of our team said the boys were so happy to have their own packs and it made them feel important. That really made our day! We also gave them new soccer balls and nets and candy for the kids. HWB also has a sewing co-op which makes the Red Elephant packs for HWB. They also sell scarves and beaded jewelry (which we all got to purchase!) to help support the school. We also got to do a home visit to check on a family who is using one of the HWB water purifiers. It is so surprising to see just how small the homes are, it was just one room and no bigger than 10'x10'. We had to walk through quite a bit of sewage and mud to get there.

Our time in Mukuru ended on a perfect note with our team leader Mama Julie teaching us all how to hypnotize a chicken! Yes...she really can!

Don't forget to follow  our journey on Facebook as well!

Lala Salama...Maria & Sheila

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hope In Huruma

Jambo! We are having an amazing time in Kenya! Today we went to a primary school in the Huruma slum. This school is very unique as it is a Christian based school in a predominately Muslim area. 350 students attend this school, whose ages range from 4 years old to 15. This was very different then the school we saw in Kiberia, as this school is 3 stories high with running toilets, a water purification system, a computer lab, and a sewing co-op. Each class welcomed us with a song and a bible verses, all of them doing a wonderful job! 

After that, we went to Simon’s new butcher’s shop! Simon is the treasurer of Hope Without Borders- Kenya. He named the shop Hope Butchery in honor of Hope Without Borders! Julie and Lance surprised him with a new knife sharper in honor of his recent opening. It is clear that he takes great pride in the shop as it is a way to continue to positively impact his community.

Before leaving the outskirts of Nirobi, we stopped to get freshly made chapatis. Chapatis are a traditional Keyan food staple that taste somewhat like a fried tortilla, but better. We all loved the taste!

When we got back to the hotel, we worked on sorting the remaining donations. Thank you to all of you who were able to donate. We were truly able to see the large impact that these donations have made.

~ Cindy & Noelle

Monday, May 21, 2018

We're finally here!!!

Well, after a 12 hour layover in Paris, we boarded the plane for another 8 hour flight to Kenya. Because we arrived early in the morning we were able to shower and get a nice breakfast (with an omelet bar)! The people here are very welcoming.

The rip into Nairobi-through lots of traffic, was eye-opening.Our first stop was the giraffe sanctuary, where orphaned or injured giraffes go to heal.They are majestic and friendly (as long as you have food in your hands).

After the giraffe sanctuary we wove through Nairobi streets to Kibera, the largest slum in Africa but home to the cutest kids in the world!! We stopped at the police station to pick up our "chaperones" and were able to meet John, Mary, Lydia and Lillian-the most kind-hearted amazing people who run a school in Kibera. What a joy to see all these children learning. We had questions and they had questions for us. Some of the girls thought they recognized Nate from a USA movie. They were also fascinated by Jessica, Emily's and Sheila's hair.

Tired, but happy, we drove back to our home base and ate a delicious meal and scampered off to bed for a much needed rest.

Steve, Rob and Nate head out tomorrow morning to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro-rest of us have other work to do. Stay tuned.......

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Welcome to our blog

Karibu (welcome)

Thank you for checking out our blog! We hope you follow us and join us virtually on this adventure. Thank you to all of you who have supported us and who will be there waiting for us when we get home.

Hope Without Borders has been organizing volunteer trips since 2010. To date we have organized more than 20+ trip with close to 400 volunteers.

It's not just a trip, it's a chance for us to help those in need. It's also a time for self-reflection and a time for us to think about how WE can help people in the future, whether overseas or in our own community.

To learn more about Hope Without Borders please visit our website at:

Asante sana  (thank you)

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