Thursday, June 24, 2010

Good Wishes

My far away sister sent Darcy and I a card that moved me to tears. Firstly, she wrote her tender words on paper flourished with hummingbirds - something I have come to associate with my mom. She inserted a "movie" bookmark with elephants that makes it look as though the animals are walking. So clever - and thoughtful. The handwritten words urged Darcy and I to have the time of our lives ...

I never fail to be moved by the generosity of spirit of those souls who surround me, who guide me and accompany me on this journey that is my life.

 "Thank you," I whisper. "How could we not?"

Million Things To Do - Milliseconds Left

It's not like we didn't know it was coming ... it's only been in the works for two years or so. Why then do I find myself with 7 days to go - a cottage closing, high school prom, graduation ceremonies and a national holiday sandwiched in between - with an arm's length list of  "to  do's"? Why does it always come down to the millisecond with trip preparations?? That is spelled  p-r-o-c-a-s-t-i-n-a-t-i-o-n  or maybe it's just b-u-s-y. 

So I just have get our ginormous shipment of pharmaceutical prescriptions filled, start the malaria meds, buy that all important insect repellent (maybe I can just wrap myself in tent net), do our laundry, and lose the recent addition to the midriff (the I-knew-I-should-skip-the-bumbleberry-pie-AND-shortcake 5 pounds) so I can squeeze myself into my clothes. Note to self: pack safety pins. Then I have to make a gazillion copies of our "documents" and kill a small forest in the process, update make a will, organize our money, find that darn money belt, hunt down our camera chargers.

I am going to make a list of everything I pack so I can check back and see what worked and didn't. Looking forward to travelling light with no blower dryers etc; and containing it to 30 pounds and a medium sized duffel.  I did this when we took a catamaran trip in the B.V.I and it is liberating not to worry about what you are wearing (comfort rules!) or glamming it up - not that I spend enough alot of time in that department anyway ...

Darcy has promised me that she will be fully packed before the weekend. Uh-huh .... stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lucky 13

"You've got mail". The familiar dinging sound signals a new arrival in the IN Box. My interest is peaked when I spot that the message is from the trip coordinator at Free the Children. I am not ashamed to admit that I feel the same excitement as a kid on Christmas morning.

So today we found out that we will be a group of 13 on the trip, with only 3 males in this baker's dozen mix. Poor boys/men. I smell a hen party coming on. At first I was concerned that Darcy would have someone her own age in the midst but I think that regardless of who is in the group, she will likely be just as interested in talking to the trip facilitators and other Free the Children staff. Hakuna Matata!

The email went on to describe the procedures to follow once we land at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and how to look for the smiling face holding the Free the Children sign. There was also a reminder to bring warm clothes ... polar fleece to be exact, as the evenings, nights and early mornings are chilly this time of year and the afternoons are HOT. Sounds just like the Arizona desert. They reminded us to pack and wear layers, but only 15 kg (33 lbs for you Americans) worth as that is the weight restriction for the intracountry flight that will take us to the Masaai Mara. This will be an excellent exercise in packing light for both of us.

As the days fall away and Africa looms ever closer, my thoughts turn to the lucky 13 and the places we'll go, and the things we will know. How lucky are we!

Monday, June 7, 2010

In the Necessary Room

I am continually overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of others, Se'Lah from over at the Necessary Room interviewed me about our upcoming trip. Se'Lah promotes "one love" and her blog is dedicated to giving thanks for the gift of life. I knew we were kindred spirits when I read her heartfelt posts about Haiti and saw that she supported Yele Haiti and Save Darfur. She is one of those souls who aspires to be a shining light in dark times.

Se'LAH: "Wishing you safe travels to Mama Africa. Please place your palm on her soil and tell her I send her peace and love."

I will Se'Lah, I promise.

If you are interested you can read the interview here and check out Se'Lah's place of peace.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

One Month

In exactly one month from today Darcy and I will be on board a plane headed for Nairobi. That realization is swirling, and I can barely get my head wrapped around it.

I completed my FINAL bit of paperwork for the trip today. I had to fax a small mountain of paperwork to Free the Children - a stack of waivers, proof of medical insurance, medical history, dietary restrictions, copies of our passports and our flight itineraries.

I can see that after anticipating this adventure for more than a year, these final few weeks are going to race towards us at breakneck speed. I am going to start a packing list this weekend so we aren't rushing around at the last minute - even though I know we will be!

Our trip is landing smack dab in the middle of FIFA World Cup that is being held in South Africa. Our return flight is the day after the Cup ends. Not sure what effect, if any, this will have on security.

I found out today that there will be 11 others in our group. I am hoping there will be someone Darcy can connect with - although I don't know why I worry - she will probably be interrogating the program facilitators about their work and the experience they are having.

One month til take off. But in the meantime, I am loving the anticipation!