Dispatch from Kenya: Crutches 4 Africa July 7

Cassidy Johnson this week in Kenya. Cassidy, a student at Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, is one of six Arizona students participating in a Crutches4Africa service project sponsored by Arizona Rotarians.

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.

Crutches 4 Africa Dispatch: July 7

Today I woke up a bit earlier than normal to go on a Lake Naivasha walk with Emily, Lauren and Piper (Emily’s dog). It was pretty chilly last night and I wore my jacket for the first time during our morning walk.

Although we didn’t spot any zebra or giraffes, Lauren and Emily identified many different species of birds, all unique to Kenya. We had breakfast as normal, but afterwards, instead of heading to BN Handa, we drove to Deliverance Church to attend Sunday service.

I was excited to dress up a bit after wearing dry-fit pants and T-shirts for the past week. We arrived an hour late to the service because, well, Kenya time. However, Lauren and I didn’t miss much despite being the last arrivals of our team. One service lasted until 10:15 a.m. It started at 7:30 a.m.; we arrived at 8:30 a.m.

The church was large and had TV screens to magnify the stage. One service itself was filled with gospel singing, convoluted chanting and praying, and mixed English and Swahili preaching. I really enjoyed the cultural experience.

After church, 10 Interact Club students from a local high school joined us on the bus to hike Hell’s Gate and watch a car rally. Our bus was completely full, so it was easy to converse with the students. I sat next to Alex, a 17-year-old who loves history and futbol. I loved talking to Alex, and he was fascinated by my iPhone and photo library.

After driving into Hell’s Gate, we parked at the “Devil’s Bedroom” trailhead and began our hike. The hike was pretty challenging, requiring rope to hoist oneself up steep rocks at some points! I was totally up for the challenge and loved every single minute of our two-hour hike.

At the end of the trailhead, several stands with souvenirs were set and their vendors were eager to make a sale. As it turns out, I am horrible at bargaining and caved into four purchases that I am ultimately very happy with.

After departing the beautiful Hell’s Gate, we drove to Crescent Island, the peninsula that occupies the center of Lake Naivasha. On the island, the only words to come out of my mouth were “wow” and “beautiful.” We were able to get extremely close to giraffes, zebra and wildebeests. I love giraffes so much that I almost started getting emotional just seeing them.

On Crescent Island, I also enjoyed watching one sunset and taking photos with Caleb, Peter and Quandy. After this amazing sightseeing we drove to dinner where we didn’t eat until after 9 p.m. I love talking to my fellow Interact Ambassadors and feel we are getting closer every day.

When driving through Emily’s neighborhood on the way home, just outside her gate, we saw two giraffes walking right in front of the car – and a huge hippo taking an evening stroll!

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