We are back in Nairobi. Just finished up our 7 hour journey from Samburu with a few stops along the way to pick up souvenirs, gifts, etc. We were without power for the last 24 hours or so (very normal in Samburu), so we couldn’t blog. I’m not sure it would have been much of a blog anyway; in the final day of our stay at Samburu, our students want to maximize the time with the people they’ve met rather than writing in front of a laptop.
Flight information in case that information was not passed on to you:
Departure on Jan 11 at 11:40 pm, Kenya Airways #112 to Paris
Connect to Delta Airlines #170 to Minneapolis, arriving 1:00pm
Connect to Delta Airlines 1609 to Denver, arriving 3:35pm.
The group will clear customs in Minneapolis, so if you are meeting them at the airport, the usual arrivals area for domestic flights is where they will show up. I’m sticking around for another week in Kenya to check in on some research we have going on and for a day or two to exhale.
A few things to consider as you talk to our students about the trip. Returning home from this trip can be a tough transition at times. Your sons/daughters/loved ones have experienced something that goes way beyond viewing wildlife and eating different types of food. There will not be an easy way to respond to the question “How was Kenya?” The easy part is telling you about the animals, the landscape, the clothes and food of Samburu culture, and so on. But I guarantee you, the experience goes way beyond that stuff, and it’s not something that is easily described right away. Samburu is a place that can inspire and break your heart at the same time. It is often a collision of emotions.
Our students have been exposed to issues related to women’s rights, poverty, access to health care, equity in educational opportunities, conservation, and more. In addition to the sobering observation they’ve had, they also learned about many efforts taken to address them. And they’ve met some extraordinary people in this community that showed them a level of hospitality, love and attention to their well-being that almost doesn’t make sense consider they’ve known them for less than 2 weeks.
It’s also likely that every member of our group feels compelled to make adjustments or changes of some kind to their life, and we encourage them to do so in a way that respects where they come from. It’ll take some time for them to figure out exactly how this trip translates to something different in their life.
I’m sure you’re looking forward to seeing them, and you will be in for many, many great stories!
So, ask about the obvious stuff: the wildlife, the food, the camping and so on. And ask about the relationships with the many good people they met in Samburu because all of our student learned a lot about humanity from those relationships. I’m less sure if they will be ready for questions about how the trip will affect their lives; that might be a better question a few weeks or months down the road once they are back home and have additional time to process their experience within their usual environment.