Dispatches from Kenya: Crutches 4 Africa: Day 3

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 3

We arrived in Nairobi this morning around 6 a.m. after an eight-hour flight from

Amsterdam and 30 hours of total travel time.

After easily clearing customs, we had a quick scare when one of Chaperone John Wintersteen’s suitcases wasn’t recovered from the baggage claim. Luckily, Kara and I found John’s suitcase after a short time looking!

We finally made it outside the airport to an overcast day. The weather was absolutely beautiful as we waited for our driver to pull our large bus around to meet us. After all 22 huge suitcases were loaded into the bus, our team headed straight toward Naivasha. We drove through the outskirts of Nairobi, where traffic lines are apparently simply suggestions.

We sat in stop-and-go traffic for quite a while and I was extremely impressed by our driver, Bernard, and his ability to weave in and out of buses, trucks and people. I was shocked that there were people walking alongside the highway, as well as cutting through intense traffic to sell bananas and other goods.

As we exited the Nairobi area, we caught a glimpse of Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum. I have been reading about Kibera and the initiatives that many of its courageous citizens are taking to improve life in the slum. I found it incredible to be able to match the author’s descriptions of Kibera with its appearance from the highway.

Although I won’t be able to experience Kibera during this trip to Kenya, I look forward to continuing to research and potentially visit during my next trip to Kenya.

After lunch, Chaperone Ron Matthew and I attempted to take a walk outside the property we were at. After about 50 steps, we were approached by a young woman who asked for money. When we told her we did not have any money, she continued clinging on to Ron, so we all mutually agreed to return to the hotel. None of us felt unsafe, but rather sorry that we couldn’t help this woman.

After returning from our walk, the group quickly got ready to take a boat tour around Lake Naivasha. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour, but found myself nodding off toward the end of the one-hour excursion. Jet lag!

Finally, the group met Edward and Ephantus, the Rotarians who have crafted our itinerary. I am so excited to get to know them and do our first distribution tomorrow!

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