Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Mount Longonot is a dormant stratovolcano located southeast of Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya, Africa. It is thought to have last erupted in the 1860s. Its name is derived from the Masai word oloonong'ot, meaning "mountains of many spurs" or "steep ridges".
Mt. Longonot is protected by the Kenya Wildlife Service as part of Mount Longonot National Park. A trail runs from the park entrance up to the crater rim, and continues in a loop encircling the crater. The whole tour is only about 8–9 km long but very steep, so that the round trip of park gate - Longonot Peak - park gate takes around 5 hrs hiking. The gate is around 2150 m asl and the peak at 2780 m asl but following the jagged rim involves substantially more than the 630 m vertical difference.
A forest of small trees covers the crater floor, and small steam vents are found spaced around the walls of the crater. The mountain is home to various species of wildlife, notably zebra andgiraffe and buffaloes (droppings on the rim) and hartebeest. Leopards have also been reported but are extremely difficult to spot.
Mt. Longonot is 60 kilometres northwest of Nairobi.
On March 21, 2009 Brush Fires burned up the side of the mountain and descended into the crater, trapping wildlife and feeding on drought ravaged brush.
We hiked Mount Longonot the day after my Lokori visit on December 23rd. I really didn't know what to expect. I was thinking something between Enchanted Rock and the Rocky Mountains but it was not like either. It was mostly just very dry dirt thus lots to DUST!! With each step a small cloud of dust would surround your shoes. Some parts of the climb were very steep so steep that the park had placed bags of dirt to act as steps to assist climbers. They were like bags we would fill with sand to line a riverbank to prevent flooding but these were stairs to help climb the mountain. After climbing for about 25-30 minutes there is a plateau with quite a few trees and brush. We just kept climbing following the dust dirt trail all the way to the top. After starting the climb again after the plateau we were able to see about 6 giraffes high above the tree line. They were some distance away but they were still there!! It was pretty sweet. Then we started climbing again this time I noticed that the grey dirt seemed more black like that of Northern California near the Red Wood forests along the Pacific Ocean. Emily said that it might be from the fires that occurred here last March. After she said that I noticed a lot of the brush and trees seemed burned. And the soil was a very dark grey, a change from the dirt at the base of our climb.
Finally we had all reached the top. After a few minutes to take pictures and take turns looking at the 9 giraffes down below it started to thunder and sprinkle. Over to the right towards Lake Naibasha there were dark clouds and looked as they were coming our way. We did not take the very steep climb around the volcano to the tip top due to the impending rain storms. As we were heading down the steep climb of dirt making sure not to slip and fall down the mountain the rain began to get heavier and the winds started really blowing and the temperature dropped! During the plateau part we were in almost dead sprint running as fast as we could down the mountain. At this point we were already completely soaked and the raining beating on our faces stung a little too. Our shoes are filled with mud and the dry dirt just sticks all over our legs and ankles. My hands are numb and my face just hurts all over but none of that matters because we still need to get off the mountain and into the car!! Racing to the cars and down the mountain somehow we all survived with no injuries. Even though I slipped a few times on the dirt bags and Emily saw her life flash before her eyes we all made it the car safe!!
On the car ride back to the house it just started pouring. And being that most of the roads are next to the dirt, mud was just EVERYWHERE!! Rains increased and strong winds blew trash and debris across the roads. Then it began to hail! Marble sized hail that lasted about 10-15 minutes during our drive home. Then almost all at once it was like we had out run the storm and the lands were completely dry and as the winds blew you could see the red dust. Once finally at the house we unloaded and went into the house through the laundry room to remove all our muddy shoes and soaked socks. Moments later the rains began here!!!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Please keep me, Emily & Kristy in your thoughts and prayers as we travel and during the 3 weeks while we are in Kenya.
Return to USA- Jan 4th-- spending the night in Dallas
Well I am off!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Recently I have been talking a lot about World Vision to a lot of people. Mostly because of my upcoming travel/vacation to Kenya in only 6 DAYS!!! On December 18, I will get to meet Kailale and his family and his community first hand in Lokori. I am taking a chartered plane (paid for by me not World Vision) to his village- Lokori, which is about 350 miles northwest from Nairobi (where I'll be staying with Emily & her parents). I have only been dreaming about the day when I will get to see him face to face and give him a great big hug for just over 5 years. Its like this impossible distant dream finally coming true and I am super excited!!!!!
World Vision's mission is about building a better world for children. My sponsorship of Kailale has not only changed his life or his families but their entire community!!!! The sponsorship helps to address the most basic needs- immediate and long term. With over 50 years of experience they have discovered the most effective way to build a better world for children is helping the entire community. World Vision intentionally works with locals to determine the communities specific needs and helps the community to gain access to resources to meet those needs. Such as accessing clean drinking water, improving nutrition, health care education, economic opportunities and vocational training. By strengthening the community they are able to bring hope of a brighter future for the children and lasting change!
There is even a 10+ year plan for each community that they bring hope and change.
Phase 1 (years 1-3)
Building trust and laying the groundwork
-- Partnership with community
-- Needs and resources assessed, plans to meet needs
-- Begin child sponsorships and community project
Phase 2 (years 4-9)
Building hope & skills
-- Community participates in progress and embraces project ownership
-- Children continue to benefit from projects
------ education/ school
------ nutrition/ food
------ clean water
------ health care
------ spiritual nurture
Phase 3 (years 10 til project close)
Building confidence for the future
-- self-assurance and self-sufficiency grow
-- years of hard work and partnership transform lives of children & the community
I know that my sponsorship with Kailale will one day come to an end. The effect I have on his life now through my sponsorship will stay with him and his family forever. My sponsorship may conclude if his community has "graduated" The goal of sponsorship is end the cycle of poverty so the children, their families, and their community can move into the future with a strong foundation of hope. Also, if Kailale finishes school, marries, or becomes self sufficient my sponsorship is no longer needed. And is something unforeseen happens such as his family leaving the community our relationship will end.
For the skeptic people in the world I want to tell you that World Vision is making a difference in the lives of children all over the world and even right here in America. They respond to natural disasters similar to the Red Cross and have the experience of changing lives for over 50 years. For every dollar donated more than 86 cents goes directly to that cause! Just click here for their charity rating and financial information from Charity Navigator if you have doubts.
"Success" By Ralph Waldo Emerson
To laugh often and love much
To win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children
To earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends
To appreciate beauty
To find the best in others
To give of one’s self
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded
Friday, December 4, 2009
Friday Dec 4th- San Antonio
Snow flurries, low of 24! Which is really cold for South Texas especially this time of year!!! Not to mention everyone going just crazy because of the cold weather. Houston even got recorded snow fall today. Average temperatures for this time of year are highs in the 60s with lows in the 40s.
By Sunday the high is expected to be 61, high of 62 on Monday and Tuesday high of 72!!
Thursday Dec 10th- Milwaukee (visit my BFF- Andrew)
The weather channel forecasts high only 18!! Yes 18 degrees Fahrenheit . . . I am taking a coat, gloves, scarf & a hat! And wearing at least 2 pair of socks :) I hope we stay inside but I will definitely go outside if there is snow!! Maybe even wake up super early for another photo shoot of the sunrise over Lake Michigan . . . just maybe.
Saturday Dec 12th- St. Louis (visit my aunt- Betsy)
The weather is going to be 40s to 30s. I am looking forward to seeing all the Christmas lights!! And I hope to eat some toasted ravioli too!
Tuesday Dec 15th- Dallas (visit my aunt- Zanne & uncle Konrad)
Average temperatures are predicted for this time of year but this is Texas we are talking about so anything could happen. Highs 58s. Lows 38s. Hanging out by the hot tub and relaxing with family . . . always good times at the Kaltenbach resort & spa!!
Thursday Dec 17th- Nairobi Kenya
Temperatures high in the 80s low in the 60s!! Can't wait to spend Christmas holidays in another part of the world with Emily & her family!!! Not to mention visiting Lokori to see my sponsored kids- Kailale, Etabo, Komusesa, & Emase. AND a 3 day safari in Mara. I am so ready . . I can't even begin to describe adequately in words my excitement!!!!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
11th grade is when I first realized I wanted to travel to Kenya. Spent the last 9 years dreaming of going to Africa.
10,000 airline miles! Dallas--London--Nairobi--Lokori--Nairobi--London--Dallas
9 hour time difference
8 months ago we purchased our airline tickets
7 things I hope I don't forget (toothbrush, deodorant, sunglasses, bug spray, first aid kit, flashlight, & underwear)
6 pieces of luggage for the flight!! 3 girls x 2 large suitcases each
5 hour layover (London airport)
4 children I sponsor through World Vision- Kailale, Komusea, Emase, Etabo
3 day safari in Mara!
2 cameras I'll be taking on my trip. Not to mention the 6 memories cards I'll be using :)
1 life time experience that I'll never forget!!