Sunday, June 3, 2012

The journey here.

The journey to this summer has been a long one.

When I was seven or eight years old, my cousin Dan went to Mauritania with the Peace Corps for two years. I thought that was the coolest thing since sliced bread and since then, I became enamored with the entire continent. It was then that I decided that I needed to go to Africa.

As time went on, I slowly became more involved with different non-profits that worked closely with different countries in Africa and poverty. My senior project in high school was a fundraiser for Heifer International, an organization that gives animals (such as cows, bees, llamas, goats, etc) and training to those living in poverty. 

I also became involved with Invisible Children during high school but it wasn't until I got to the University of Portland that I became more and more involved. Last August, I had the chance of a lifetime to attend Invisible Children's summit called the Fourth Estate. This four day conference gave me a new found passion for international development and it was there that I met some of my closest friends.

A couple months after the Fourth Estate, I happen to hear about the East Africa Initiative Internship that UP puts on every year with the Foundation of Sustainable Development. I spent a couple weeks thinking of applying before submitting the application the day it was due (again, ultimate procrastinator. It's a terrible habit...).

I found out that I was one of the interns on the first day of winter break and spent the next several months preparing for this trip. Along with the other two interns, I went to several meetings with UP's Moreau Center for Service and Leadership and had a one credit class called International Development. Through that, I've learned about how to best service a community.

The flight here was not too bad. It took me about 30ish hours (if I did my math right...) to get from Bellingham, WA, to Nairobi, with a layover in San Francisco and Amsterdam. My first night in Nairobi was spent at the Hilton in downtown Nairobi, as another intern was coming a couple hours later at about 4am and it was easier for us to stay there that night.

Right now, I am staying with the Holy Cross Community, which has been a complete joy and blessing.

But despite the jetlag and the long trip, the past two days here have been amazing. However, as it is currently 11:10PM here in Nairobi, it is time for me to sleep. Tomorrow will bring stories of everything that I have seen.


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