The idea of going to Africa was daunting to me because I don’t like to fly long distances. Two eight-hour flights back-to-back nearly scared me off. Plus, the trip was expensive (we GTL volunteers pay our own way.) But I figured this might be my only chance to get to Africa in my lifetime and I decided to suck it up. Africa is the source of everything, including most of the music I enjoy listening to, and that in particular means a lot to me. And I wanted to see with my own eyes what our efforts on behalf of the girls there were accomplishing.
Arriving in Nairobi one evening last September was like being dropped into a completely different world. The sights, sounds and smells were mesmerizing. The hustle and bustle at the airport. Learning how to say hello in Swahili – “Jambo!”
My flying companion, Mary Schwartz, a GTL board member, and I were quickly whisked away from the airport chaos by a cheerful van driver. When we got to the Parklands Sports Club, our hotel for the night, Richard Jenson, now GTL’s President, was there waiting — with a nice, cold Tusker beer. Various GTL board members, volunteers and the then executive director Alex Marthews were all arriving on different flights at different times. We sat in the lobby and sipped our beers while waiting for the rest to arrive. I was surprised at how cool the evening air was – probably no warmer than 65 degrees outside. I hadn’t even brought a sweater!
After greeting each other and exchanging stories of our flights and sharing a beer, we all headed off to our rooms. The adventure was going to begin first thing in the morning and we needed some rest.