Maasi Mara Kenyan Safari

So, all work and no play makes Sandi a grumpy person, LOL. I told our trip organizer, Natalie, I really didn’t want to go to Kenya without adding a safari in. That’s like coming to South Florida and not going to the beach! So our lovely host, Roberta, planned us a safari. And WHAT AN EXPERIENCE IT WAS!!! We did a 3 hour evening safari, spent the night in tents and then a 3 hour sunrise safari. Most pics are mine (taken on my iPhone 5) and a few belong to Natalie and Maya (both of whom had real cameras on them, lol) I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

CHEETAH

CHEETAH

BEAUTIFUL LION - WE SAW A MOMMA AND 3 CUBS THE EVENING BEFORE.

BEAUTIFUL LION – WE SAW A MOMMA AND 3 CUBS THE EVENING BEFORE.

ZEBRA... SEE THE BABY?

ZEBRA… SEE THE BABY?

STUNNING

STUNNING

AFRICAN BUFFALO

AFRICAN BUFFALO

YOUNG GIRAFFE

YOUNG GIRAFFE

CHEETAH

CHEETAH

GIRAFFE

GIRAFFE

LION

LION

OSTRICH

OSTRICH

I JUMPED OUT FOR A QUICK PIT STOP, MAYA CAUGHT ME... ZEBRA AND WILDEBEEST IN THE BACKGROUND... AMAZING!

I JUMPED OUT FOR A QUICK PIT STOP, MAYA CAUGHT ME… ZEBRA AND WILDEBEEST IN THE BACKGROUND… AMAZING!

I TOOK THIS WITH MY iPHONE... SUNSET

I TOOK THIS WITH MY iPHONE… SUNSET

PUMBA AKA WART HOG

PUMBA AKA WART HOG

THE WILDEBEEST WERE FUNNY. WE WOULD DRIVE UP ON THEM, THEY WOULD RUN A FEW YARDS AND THEN TURN AROUND AND LOOK AT US AS IF SAYING, "YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME??" ... TOO FUNNY

THE WILDEBEEST WERE FUNNY. WE WOULD DRIVE UP ON THEM, THEY WOULD RUN A FEW YARDS AND THEN TURN AROUND AND LOOK AT US AS IF SAYING, “YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME??” … TOO FUNNY

ZEBRA... ONE OF THE NEATEST THINGS WAS EARLIER IN THE TRIP, WE SAW ZEBRA HANGING OUT ON THE SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY GRAZING WITH THE COWS.

ZEBRA… ONE OF THE NEATEST THINGS WAS EARLIER IN THE TRIP, WE SAW ZEBRA HANGING OUT ON THE SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY GRAZING WITH THE COWS.

A mission to Kenya

I had the opportunity this month to travel to Nairobi and Sakwa, Kenya on a mission trip with Mission:Hope, an organization headed by my friend from all the way back in middle school, Natalie West Evans. Natalie is also the wife of the pastor at my church.

I invited Maya Bond-Duarte, a graduating midwife student from the school I was teaching at, to come as well. WHAT.A.TRIP!

We arrived in Nairobi very late in the evening, and were greeted at the airport by Roberta Peterson, our host for this trip. She is an incredible woman from NC that has a heart for Kenya and lives in Sakwa doing amazing work! We showered and hit the sack after 19+ hours of flying. Up early and a hearty breakfast and off on a 6 hour, bumpy ride to Sakwa. On the way we stopped at the Great Rift Valley viewpoint. What views we had!

Natalie, Roberta, Me, Maya and Petranila

Natalie, Roberta, Me, Maya and Petranila

We had two main objectives on this trip. To provide educational seminars and a clinic to the women of the community and to spend time with the children at the Hope Educational Center, where Roberta is the Matron.

Roberta

Roberta

We held our seminar at the church. Words cannot even begin to express the joy at seeing 170+ women sitting in that church listening to health education seminars. We spoke on the importance of care during pregnancy, breastfeeding, family planning and HIV.

Women's Health Seminar

Women’s Health Seminar

Maya, Evelyne and I saw about 50 women for various and assorted ailments in the church, while Michelle (part of the NC team) saw women in an outer building for HIV testing and family planning.

Maya, Evelyne and I saw about 50 women for various and assorted ailments in the church, while Michelle (part of the NC team) saw women in an outer building for HIV testing and family planning.

Evelyne Osano is an amazing woman. She lives and works in Kisii, Kenya. She is a registered nurse and her husband is a pastor. They have a beautiful little girl named Blessing. Evelyne works full time at a local hospital and then comes home and runs a clinic, financed with her own money. She loves her community THAT much! It was an honor to meet such an amazing woman. She inspires me to do more!

Evelyne and Me... Love this amazing woman!

Evelyne and Me… Love this amazing woman!

Me, Evelyne and Maya

Me, Evelyne and Maya

Showing Evelyne the medical supplies that I collected and brought with me. Donations provided by many of my midwife friends and the birth centers they work at.

Showing Evelyne the medical supplies that I collected and brought with me. Donations provided by many of my midwife friends and the birth centers they work at.

The next day we got to spend time with the kids!!! Oh my, what wonderful kids! We read to them, sang with them, were welcomed by them, made rainbow faith bead bracelets with them and danced with them!

This is Natalie with the kids :)

This is Natalie with the kids 🙂

Me teaching the kids the Hokey Pokey!

Me teaching the kids the Hokey Pokey!

I love this photo of Maya!

I love this photo of Maya!

Me reading Bugs, Bugs, Bugs to the kids.

Me reading Bugs, Bugs, Bugs to the kids.

Reading to the kids.

Reading to the kids.

Natalie and I on Field Day with the kids.

Natalie and I on Field Day with the kids.

Maya tying the bracelets on the kids. Natalie read the story of how Jesus is our friend.

Maya tying the bracelets on the kids. Natalie read the story of how Jesus is our friend.

I even kicked a GOAL in a soccer game!!!

Goal!

Goal!

We had AMAZING food at our host home in Sakwa!!

This lunch was provided by the local ladies on our Women's Health Seminar day... YUM!!! Goat, greens and ugali... Mmmm, Mmmmm!

This lunch was provided by the local ladies on our Women’s Health Seminar day… YUM!!! Goat, greens and ugali… Mmmm, Mmmmm!

This little man stole my heart. On the day we were doing the Women’s Health Seminar he approached shyly and asked if I had a pen he could use for school. In 4th grade they stop using pencils and use pens instead. I gave him the pen I had brought from the States. He goes to the public school in town. As the days went by, he showed me each day that he still had my pen and let me know he was using it in his studies. On the last day we were there, he and other public school children were standing outside the Hope Educational Center watching the children put on a presentation just for us. As I left, he gave me a hug and said, “Thank you my friend, for the pen”. My heart melted! On our journey back to Nairobi I asked Roberta what it takes to sponsor a child to go to school at the Hope Educational Center. $60 pays for a years tuition, uniform, satchel bag and some supplies. YES, THAT IS SIXTY U.S. DOLLARS, A YEAR! A hundred dollars will help sponsor a kid and supply the school. I will sponsor this young man for many years. He will forever hold a place in my heart ❤ If you are interested in more information, you can contact me privately at sandiblankenshiprm@gmail.com.

I left part of my heart in Sakwa, with this little guy!

Here are more pics of the kids… lots more.

Maya reading with one of the wonderful teachers watching.

Maya reading with one of the wonderful teachers watching.

My naughty boy

Saying goodbye

The walk home

Walking home

Tomorrow… the Safari. 😀

Ciao!

Mission: HOPE Caring for others with the gift God has given me

I have an amazing opportunity to share my knowledge with others in Kenya. The trip is scheduled for July 2014 and I am going with a group from my church and bringing along one of my senior midwife students, Maya, with me. Maya will have just graduated from her 3-year midwifery program when we go. We are super excited.

I truly believe that I am suppose to share the gift of midwifery knowledge that I have been blessed with. Traveling to Kenya and other countries enables me to do that. If you can help, that would be awesome! I’ve created a page where you can help us if you’d like to: Sandi & Maya Mission: HOPE. Prayers are welcome, too 🙂

I’m still waiting on a baby down here in St. John. I am with a lovely family and really enjoying my time down here.

I hope everyone is having an amazing week!

Ciao!