Crutches 4 Africa dispatch from Kenya: Days 1-2

The following daily diary is from Cassidy Johnson, a Scottsdale student who is one of six Valley high students visiting Kenya this month to distribute mobility devices as part of Crutches 4 Africa, a service project sponsored by Arizona District 5495 Rotary’s Interact Club. Miss Johnson is a senior at Desert Mountain High School and an assistant governor for the District 5495 Interact Club.

Miss Johnson has agreed to share her journey with the Independent readers via her personally written dispatches. Visit here to read more about the journey.

Cassidy Johnson, a junior at Desert Mountain High School, speaking at a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Scottsdale. (Special to the Independent).

Crutches 4 Africa Dispatch: July 1-2 (Day 1-2)

I am currently on the plane, flying from LAX to Amsterdam. Only 30 minutes left of this 10-hour flight!

I am sitting next to Hannah. We both have spent time watching movies, sleeping a bit, and reading. I think I have gotten about four hours of sleep on this flight, which is OK with me, as we have an eight-hour flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi in the near future. I am planning (hoping) to sleep the entire flight.

I have had some trouble sitting still and my lower back is quite tense. Nonetheless, flying has not been nearly as tough as I thought it would be. I find a lot of my pre-trip anxiety has almost completely disappeared after getting situated with our luggage; receiving our boarding passes made the trip feel so real.

I am in a pretty positive mood despite the duration of the flights. I watched the movies, “Free Solo” and “The Hate U Give” at the beginning of the flight, which are a few of the reasons why I didn’t get much sleep.

As we begin our final descent into Amsterdam, I am feeling tired, but optimistic. I learned yesterday that we will have one day to unwind and adjust once we reach Kenya, and I was relieved. During the layover in Amsterdam, I am planning on moving around, getting something to eat and brushing up on some Maa and Swahilli.

I am missing mom, dad, Carly and Grammy, but I am happy that I have been able to talk with all of them during layovers. I have especially loved talking to Grammy for hours the night before we left and at LAX.

I miss dad’s travel organization and mom’s care and understanding with travel. I hate to admit that I may not be entirely prepared, but I expect there to be quite a large culture shock upon arrival. I expect to experience new, and perhaps unappealing sights and smells throughout this trip.

I have been told about my home host, Emily, an American who lives on Lake Naivasha. I am staying at her home with Lauren, and I expect to see a multitude of wildlife while staying there. I expect that we will not be doing distributions every day, and will also be experiencing the culture of Kenya daily.

I expect that sleeping five nights in the Maasai Mara will be very hard for me, and this trip is what I am most anxious about. I expect that my nerves will be soothed when I see the Prescott College campus and the beauty of the Maasai Mara.

Nest stop: Nairobi!

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