Are you ready to pack your bags and embark upon another #UnboundAdventure? I’m thrilled to share that in February, we’ll again be journeying with my friends at Unbound to see the work being done by Unbound staff and sponsors in the country of Kenya. This will be my third trip to Africa, but my first time traveling with Unbound. Our travel dates will be February 17 through 28. I hope to bring you every step of the way!
Unbound is “is an international nonprofit founded by lay Catholics grounded in the Gospel call to put the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable first.” Serving 300,000 children, youth and elderly people in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Unbound provides opportunities for families like ours to connect deeply with other families by entering into sponsorship relationships that truly change lives. In sponsoring a child in the Philippines and an elder in India, Greg and I have learned that “change” happens not just in the economic, educational and health assistance provided by sponsorship to our sponsored friends, but also in the hearts of the sponsors. We look forward to our regular correspondence with both of our sponsored friends. I have met their families and visited their homes and can’t wait to go back for future visits. I see the world differently–especially the countries of India and the Philippines–knowing that Lourdhumary and precious little Jackilyn are in our hearts across the miles.
On this journey, while I will not be meeting a sponsored friends, I will see firsthand the work of Unbound in East Africa and will shadow others sponsors as they visit with their friends. I cannot wait!
Basic Facts about Kenya:
Before traveling to any destination, I always love to learn a few basic facts about the country I will visit. As I know from taking two previous Awareness Trips, this journey will not be about tourism. It’s likely that we will visit a few special sites, but more importantly, we will journey into the schools, communities, and homes of those who are a part of the Unbound family in Kenya. I will be taking you every step of the way, so here are a few facts to get us oriented:
- Capitol – Nairobi
- Official Languages – English, Kiswahili
- Area – 224,081 sq mi (for comparison, the state of Texas is 268,597 sq mi – about 1.2 times the size of Kenya)
- Population in 2017 – 49,125,325
- Time – The time in Nairobi, Kenya is 11 hours in advance of my home in Los Angeles
- Weather – February is the hottest month in Kenya and also the month with the most daily sunshine!
- Religion Percentages: (source)
- 83 Christian
- 11 Muslim
- 2 Traditional Religions
- 4 Other religions (including Hindu)
Our Basic Itinerary:
I’ve learned that things can and do change on these trips while we are in country, but this is a basic overview of our mission:
- Day 1: Depart your home airport to travel to Nairobi, Kenya.
- Day 2: Arrive in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. Nairobi means “cool waters” in Maasai, a tribal language of the country. Local Unbound staff will welcome you at the airport.
- Days 3-5: Welcome celebration! Most people will meet their sponsored friends in Nairobi and spend one or two days together. Experience the bustling city as you visit families that live in urban areas. Enjoy a morning safari at a Kenyan national park or conservation area.
- Days 6-9: Travel to Meru. Spend some time with your sponsored friends from Meru. Visit nearby communities while enjoying views of majestic Mt. Kenya.
- Day 10: Return to Nairobi.
- Day 11: Optional outing to a point of interest in Nairobi. Begin return trip home from Nairobi.
- Day 12: Arrive home. (In our case, we won’t be going “home”, but that’s another story for another day!)
For many reasons, I am ecstatic about making this journey. I have begun work on my next non-fiction book project and I’m certain that it will be enlightened and improved by the families I have the opportunity to meet in Kenya. Since seeing the Mully documentary in September (read my review here), I have longed to visit Nairobi. Additionally, Kenya is also “home” to one of our Holy Cross Family Ministries Family Rosary Communities. I don’t know that I will have the chance to visit them, but to know that the work of Venerable Peyton is having such an impact in this beautiful country has really touched my heart.
Our Patron Saints:
As you know, I always love to pray through the patronage of saints when taking an adventure. I’ve had a bit of a challenge discovering the patron saint of Kenya, so I’ve decided that our patrons for this journey will be the Holy Family: Jesus, our Blessed Mother Mary, and Saint Joseph. I came to this conclusion because of the beauty of Father Patrick Peyton’s work reaching families in Kenya. I don’t yet know how to say, “The family that prays together stays together” in Swahili, but stay tuned. Additionally, Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi is the Cathedral of the Archdiocese. Please join me in praying through the intercession of the Holy Family for my fellow travelers and me as we prepare for our travels, and for all of the families served by Unbound in Kenya.
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Copyright 2018 Lisa M. Hendey