Monday, February 27, 2017

The Man who Motivated Me into Missions

First off I should apologize for my lack of entries in the last year. Life Happened,  after making multiple trips between Dallas, San Angelo and San Antonio, I said my last earthly goodbyes to my dad in July.  I say earthy, because I know that I will see him again when my earthly life ends and I join him and Jesus! Then in September we relocated to Albuquerque New Mexico, so life has been chaotic to say the least.

Donald Neumann, my dad. Father to me and 4 other siblings, married to my mom for over 60 years and had just turned 86 just 2 days before he died. My dad was many thing during his long life. He grew up in Iowa on a farm and was the oldest of 9 children. He joined the army, married and lost his first wife and baby girl from complications in child birth. A year or so later he met the woman, who he says "Saved his life" my mom. He then became the father to my oldest sister Terry, and went on to have 3 boys and another daughter...me! Shortly after I was born he left the army and went into private life. He repaired and sold copiers for 3M. We moved from El Paso Texas to Midland and then Lubbock. Lubbock is where he would be mentored from our church pastor and enter the ministry.
My parents on their wedding day!


My favorite photo of me and my dad when I was little.

When dad entered the ministry as a lay pastor he choose the not so good part of town, he wanted to serve where no one else wanted to go. During my high school years he pastored a church in Post Texas. He was there 2-3 times a week, 45 minute drive each way. He had me teaching Sunday school. It was right before I graduated that he moved to Tulsa OK, he pastored a small church in Coweta, OK., there he baptized our daughter's Tender and Samantha. 

It was the move to Tulsa that changed his career course. He and my mom pretty much lost everything, the copier business that my dad had bought. He made the decision then to enter the ministry full time. My parents loaded up and moved to Indiana so dad should go to Seminary and be ordained as a full time pastor. He graduated and got his PhD and he and my mom informed us that they were headed out of the United States to Central America to enter the mission field full time. In 1992, they moved to Panama. They left everything to go serve. 

My dad and my brother Paul at my dad's commissioning service 
before leaving for Panama.

                                          My dad sharing at a church in the states about their                
mission work in Panama.

They loved Panama, the people, the country side and the work they did, had it not been for the horrific car accident they were in in 1998, I truly believe my dad would have died and been buried there. After  a year of rest and healing from the accident, in which my mom suffered a broken neck and internal injuries and my dad lost a kidney, shattered a knee and ankle and had other internal injuries, my parents moved to south Texas and started back serving the people in the South Valley in Harlingen Texas. 

They loved the ministry, the people, doing what God called them to do. All this does not surprise me, my parents were constantly bringing home people to live under our roof, to help them. They fostered several children, had foreign exchange students living with us and even sponsored a young man from Vietnam in the late 70's. They stopped for the person in a broke down car on the side of the road...my dad was the story of the Good Samaritan, and he taught his children to be the same. 

All of my brothers are involved in sharing the gospel in some way, as a pastor, youth leader or leader in their church. My sister taught special needs kids for many years and still teaches them art. What do I do,? I am a mother to 4 amazing kids, I have an amazing husband, but what leads me to the mission field is my nursing career, a career built around serving others. 

                                                 My daughter Tender's baptism.

After my first trip to Africa I was hooked, you spend days getting to know the people you are there to serve, you see the needs they have and you just want to help, to be a part of that life. I am not saying that mission work is a call for everyone, but serving others should be.  I have seen many volunteer go and not want to return.  We should teach our children when they are young that it is good to help others. The act of serving doesn't have to be a grand gesture like going to Africa or Panama on a mission trip. It can be helping the homeless, or a young couple struggling to care for her family. It can be saying kind words to someone having a bad day. It can be collecting food for the local food bank or blanket and coats for the homeless during the cold weather. It can be taking someone to a doctors appointment or watching their kids. Be the change you want to see in the world, be the Hands and Feet of Christ. The smallest of gestures can make an enormous impact on many people.

                                         One of my favorite photos of my parents taken 
after their car accident in Panama.
 The last partial family photo I have with him, taken at my 
mom's birthday  celebration the month before he died. 
My other 2 kids went and saw him the next week.

My favorite saying is "How can we be the hands and feet of Christ is we have no compassion."

I leave you with this challenge, go out and be kind, serve others and expect nothing in return, the blessings you get will far out weight any time or effort you put into it, if you do it with your heart.

#bethechange

If you would like more information on volunteering with Project Humanity for to www.projecthumanity.com 








Thursday, April 21, 2016

WHY??

From the moment you drop down into and make your passage  through the Great Rift Valley and spy baboons on the side of the road to the picturesque first sunrise creeping up over Lake Victoria, you cannot deny the beauty that Kenya has to offer. And then there is Botswana, the abundant wildlife is something out of National Geographic! Within minutes of crossing the border from Zambia I gaze upon elephants and giraffes on the side of the road grazing on the tall grass or eating from the even taller trees, they roam as it seems to me unaffected by my presence. If the amazing wildlife in Botswana doesn’t get to you, the beauty of the waterfalls in Zambia, of one of the 7 natural wonders of the world will. Victoria Falls is breath taking, the massive amount of water cascading down, creating rainbows and a mist of water so heavy that you are drenched when you leave. You have to take pictures, it’s hard sometimes to take in all you do and see in a day, you go back later and look at photos remembering things that you forgot so quickly because the next beautiful moment presented itself and you were caught up in it.-- Purple Slip Girl
                                                                The Great Rift Valley
                                       Yep, that's an elephant getting ready to cross the road!

                                                       Oh and a giraffe just hanging out!
                                                 My first view of Victoria Falls, amazing!
                                              On of the seven natural wonders of the world
                                         One of our amazing sunsets while on Rusinga Island

I am often asked why I go on mission trips? Besides the obvious answer “ I go to give of my time and talents, to help share my medical training” That was the first reason I wanted to go, but in reality, I love to travel and I love adventure, and every once in a while I like being out of my comfort zone. So with this blog post I thought I would address why you would want to join Project Humanity and travel with us to Africa!

If you aren’t medically trained, why do you go on a mission trip over seas with a non profit, giving up almost 2 weeks of time that you could be spending at a beach or in the mountains in the US, or just sleeping in.

Do you get up everyday doing the same thing over and over and ask yourself, is this what life has to offer? Is this it, the same thing over and over again, day in and day out? Is this what my life is, going to work, collecting a paycheck and repeating it?  Do you ever ask yourself “Will my life make an imprint on the world, do I matter?”

Some of our volunteers come because of a life event, the loss of a loved one, because they are empty nesters and desire a purpose after raising their children or because they have battled a life threatening disease and won! Recently I asked some of our past non-medical volunteers why they joined the PH team? Everyone that I asked didn’t join to be a member of the medical team, they had other talents, that they brought with them to share with those in need.

The first trip I made had a large number of flight attendants (fa’s) that joined the PH team. With that said it’s pretty obvious they didn’t go because they like to travel, they live and breathe travel on a daily basis, here is what they shared with me.

“I was drawn to go to Kenya after seeing Kirsten's pics from being there. My job of pouring coke is not gratifying so I was interested in taking a charitable trip to do something that makes a difference and to change up my life of work, gym and happy hour.” Rowena- American Airlines FA

“Personally, for me it was always a Bucket list/Goal of mine to visit Africa, support a mission trip, attend a Safari.   It was not something I was actively searching at the time of my involvement.  The opportunity found me online in an American Airlines FB work group. I had recently lost a friend who left me some money in his will.  He was always giving back to different charities and his community.  When I saw the ad to travel with PH to Africa, I followed up on it.  I thought what a great opportunity to accomplish my goal and at the same time invest the money that my friend willed me. Going on the trip was important to me but promoting what I was doing was just as important. “ Jeff – American Airlines FA
                                  Helping build farms/gardens
                                      Nana, another fa, hard at work!
                         Mame and Jeff Distributing chickens to the orphans
                                   Our awesome fa volunteers!
                    Yep, the kids loved the donated soccer balls that Jeff brought!
                           Kat, one of the fa's  loving on some of the kids
                                                      Bre helps with shoe distribution

I want to say that the fa’s that were on that first trip I took, were amazing, they were hard working go getters! They brought over school supplies, shoes and soccer balls,  and collected money for gifting goats and chickens to those in need, they helped build farms and they played non stop with the children at the orphanage we were working with. They were amazing, and such a heart for service!

Jeff brought up the term Bucket list, and if joining a mission trip and traveling to Africa is part of  your bucket list, then volunteering with PH will help you mark those items off your list! ! Does your list  include travel, adventure, a safari, Africa, or helping a stranger in need? You could scratch off  5 items from your Bucket List in 10 days!

 My husband sells tires for a living, he busts his butt working a very busy and labor intensive job. He was looking for adventure, to travel, to make a difference, he went because he thought about his daily life and had that thought, “What if this is all life has to offer? Surely there has to be more” He has joined the PH team and me on several trips to Africa and he has served in Guatemala with our church as well., and is a volunteer with Red Cross. He likes the adventure and the travel, he likes making a lasting impact on those he meets.
                                    
                                       My husband Mac taught them how to drill for water
                                      It takes a lot of man power or girl power to drill a well
                                               Playing around after a hard day of farming!
                 Mac and one of the fa's Tania, building a fence to protect the garden they planted

Len, another volunteer from our first trip is a plumber from Philly had this to say about his experience:

The year I decided to join up with Project Humanity I was doing a little soul searching. I felt myself craving to do something bigger than myself. I told a friend this and he told me about PH and how he was going on this retreat. I contacted PH and I was instantly sold. The work they do and the services they strive to provide and the amount of love they want to spread in the world was exactly what I was looking for. Personal: I am a union plumber so the thought of working at a medical clinic didn't phase me. I knew that I would be working with very qualified medical personal and that we were all there to help and do our part. Well I couldn't have been more right. I made a journey with a nurse (Mame Fancett) where we had to hike to visit some of the sick who were home bound and couldn't make it to the clinic. The high light of the entire adventure was working with the maternity nurse Kay whom I helped deliver a baby. Which was a life changing experience for me. To be there and help this very primitive and basic medical clinic and aid in making miracles happen would change anyone's perspective on life. I found PH to be a rewarding program and I encourage more people to make trips like this and become more involved in making a difference and making the world a better place. No change is too small when trying to make the world a better place.- Len, plumber from Philly

                                         
                                 Len taking a selfie of the first delivery he was involved in!
                                                         Len in his new "medical" attire

Side note here, Len had signed up for the first week of the trip and decided to add the second week midway through the first. He jumped in and helped with medical stuff, we taught him how to do intake on patients for the clinic and do blood pressures! Sometimes when you volunteer it grabs you and pulls you in for more than you planned, and you don’t live in regret, but in satisfaction that you have made a difference!

Have you ever wanted to help stranger, never wanting anything in return? Do you have the desire to encourage students to stay in school, to graduate and even go on to a vocational school and learn a trade or even college?  Why not join others with the same thoughts and desires.

Every trip has something different to offer, some trips are of a medical focus, but you don’t have to be medically trained to go, just willing to serve.  Other trips emphasis  literacy and micro finance/small business, all of our trips focus to help those in need. 

Matthew West says it best in his song “My own little World”, he starts with the words 

“In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world: population – me”

And a few verses later me sings

“What if there is a bigger picture?
What if I’m missing out?
What is there’s a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world”

The song ends with these words:
“I don’t wanna miss what matters
I wanna be reaching out
Show me a greater purpose
So I can start living right now
Outside my own little world, my own little world, my own little world.”   
(‘My own little World’, Matthew West, 2010)

Join PH because you want to have fun, Join us because you want to make a difference, Join because you want to travel. Join Project Humanity because you want to change the path you are on, because life has so much more, because now is the time for your greatest adventure, outside your own little world! For more information how you can Join and start your big adventure go to www.projecthumanity.com/join/


Kay

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. Maya Angelou

Friday, April 1, 2016

“It is better to have spilt water than a cracked pot” African saying

I feel like a failure, sure it’s a pride thing but still. 

Up until now my adventure have been in chronological order of my trips, I have decided that they don't have to be, I think the stories should all be told and I have decided to tell about my adventures in the order that I want and some are really important and I have to tell them, this is one of those stories! 

Most of you may remember that in October of  2014 I went to Africa/Kenya to lead a Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) Facilitators training. This training would train healthcare workers in the practice of HBB and help decrease the number of babies that die each year in childbirth. Pamela Meharry,  a nurse midwife and fellow HBB facilitator and I led a 2 day course and trained 7 facilitators.

HBB focuses on the crucial first 60 seconds, that golden first minute in a baby’s life. It stresses that being prepared is so important, and having the correct tools to help if resuscitation is needed. Being a good labor nurse is about being prepared….. prepared if something happens with the mother and with the baby. Being caught unprepared can be the difference in life and death, and is NOT a feeling that I care for. There have been times in the states in a hospital setting where I have had a patient that had a precipitous delivery (fast) and I wasn’t quite ready, thanks to my coworkers and their quick actions everything was okay. That’s what being a good labor nurse is about, being prepared and having a great team of other labor nurses helping you out. I’m not trying to take anything away from the obstetrician’s, but that’s their job, things are much calmer when they do the delivery compared to a nurse…okay I am rambling, back to point.

I just returned from my latest adventure with Project Humanity and it didn’t go without a little drama! Whenever we travel to Rusinga Island (in far western Kenya on Lake Victoria) we always check in on the clinics where HBB providers are trained. We go into the labor and delivery areas and check the condition of the HBB supplies and if they are still using them as trained.  The first week of the trip I wasn’t able to go in for an inspection, I got very sick and we had a dental clinic going on so it was chaotic to say the least. At the end of the first week a pediatric resident from the US, Dr. Sheena Gupta joined us. Sheena is a trained HBB facilitator as well and I had plans for us to do refresher courses and new trainings if needed while there. On her first day we went by the Minister of Health’s (MOH) office for introductions and to take her on a tour of the facility. (Mbita Hospital)  While we were in the maternity ward I took a chance to inspect equipment and you can imagine my surprise when there were no HBB supplies to be found in the delivery areas. I talked to them about the importance to always be ready and they needed to get the HBB supplies back to the area ASAP!

On her second day Sheena started by doing rounds with the staff at Mbita (they do a lot of deliveries and have an inpatient area that is always busy) The pediatric area was FULL, some beds had 2 children in them.  While she was there I was visiting with high school girls on Rusinga to talk about hygiene and about girl stuff. Once we finished we headed to Mbita to catch up with Sheena and go to lunch. On the way I got a call that there was a patient that was in labor and going to deliver, if I wanted to take part in it I should head on in, so our driver increased his speed!

Meanwhile back at the hospital, Sheena prepared to go in for the delivery. She asked where the supplies were, because they weren’t there even with the recommendations from the day before. She instructed them to get the supplies before delivery.  The next thing she knew a very inexperienced midwife ruptured the bag of water on the patient since she was completely dilated, and of course there was meconium, thick meconium! (Baby poop) I walked in right as the baby delivered and could see a limp baby and Sheena looked and me and yelled for me to go find supplies to resuscitate this baby! I ran out quickly to the room that I knew they should be in and nothing, I quickly ran back in, the cord had just been cut (the midwife decided to milk the cord, which is fine with a healthy baby, not one that needs resuscitation!) Sheena had to tell him to quickly cut the cord and she grabbed the baby and we both started to frantically work on drying the baby. At this point a fellow hospital worker thought the baby had died and she left the room. (HBB teaches you try for 10 minutes before stopping) Experience and knowledge tells me that the baby needs to be suctioned first but we don’t have the supplies! We continue to dry and wipe the baby’s mouth out with a towel, we had to yell to get that! We worked and rubbed and dried and stimulated begging the little guy to breathe… about the time he started to breathe and cry a bulb suction showed up, and not the HBB penguin suction they are suppose to have! Once he started crying Sheena and I gave a sigh of relief, but I was angry inside. Where were the dang supplies??? Sheena assigned apgars of 1/8, all the baby initially had was a slow heart rate.

Once we finished and the baby was okay Caroline, one of the practitioners (who I trained in HBB in 2014) made the statement “Another HBB success!” I looked at her and replied, that was not a success, it was a HBB failure, you guys were not prepared, even after the visit the day before and Sheena’s instructs to get ready right before the delivery. If I were to grade you right now you get a “F”, she looked shocked. 
We already had a HBB training planned at their facility the next day and we encouraged that all new employees or ones without the training take the class.

Sheena led a small HBB class that afternoon at the Tom Mboya clinic that we work with and trained 2 people. The next morning we showed up at the hospital and trained 9 more and Caroline was there for a refresher I’m sure.  We stressed even more about the importance of preparedness, HBB doesn’t work if you are not ready. Sadly the inexperienced midwife from the day before wasn’t there and only one of the new midwives was (she did great!) the employee that walked out when she thought the baby was dead wasn’t there either. I asked about those not in attendance and told them that they need to have those people trained in the next 30 days. 
                                             Instructing at the class at Mbita Hospital
Jerry Uhuru, a Project Humanity in country volunteer!
                             Dr Sheena Gupta and our small class at Tom Mboya Hospital

I found out a few days later that since I taught the first HBB class that the fetal death rate for 2015 was higher than 2014. I discussed this with the MOH and he shares his concern over this number. In talking with the providers an African saying came up “It’s better to have spilt water than a cracked pot” The meaning is simply that they save the mother over the baby, they focus more on a mother at/after  delivery than the baby, and it is so easy to do both. Their premise is that if the mother dies there is no one to look after her other children.

The next training in HBB is Essential Care of Every newborn  and I was scheduled to teach that this fall, but until I am sure they have the first concept of HBB down this will not take place. I am okay with this decision, it is better to have one skill mastered before attempting the next, it makes you a better nurse/midwife.

I am still learning, and teaching in another country that has differences, how they learn, their cultural views on the value of the mom’s life and the newborn’s is not the same and yet I understand.  I found this quote from C.S. Lewis and I thought it fitting especially with the reference to water
“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate the deserts.”
So I guess for now you can call me  Farmer Kay RNC


If you would like more information on how to volunteer with Project Humanity in Africa or join me on my trip in September to Zambia go to www.projecthumanity.com or email me at kay@projecthumanity.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Purple Slip

We started our work at the clinic the day after the new crew arrived. We were eager to get started, I was eager to use my nursing skills. We were divided into 3 groups. The first group would help check people in at the registration and the second group would handle any of the HIV cases, pregnant women or pediatric cases, the third group had everything else. I was in the second group.
Bed on the right is the bed patients deliver in
Delivery sets and instruments they use for delivery



















We found out early in that the nurses/midwives do everything, they prescribe the meds, they order the testing, they deliver the babies and treat the patients, they are OVER WORKED! In the states I would never in my life order meds or lab tests without the order from the physician, but in rural Kenya the nurses are the eyes and ears of the doctors. Doctors in rural Kenya are few and far between. Now granted they are not dispensing narcotics, mostly malaria meds, antibiotics and HIV medications and the tests they order are malaria, HIV, STD, and other infection related tests. The midwives  administer labor related drugs, of course they are midwives, but not in the same sense as our midwives in the US.  

Most of the patients we had during the day were malaria cases and mostly children. Malaria is the number one killer of children under 5 in Africa, the effects can be devastating. Malaria isn't a one time disease, you can get it over and over again, you get fever, diarrhea, vomiting, chills and headache. You can see where in a small child this can be deadly. There was one child admitted in the ward that was on an IV for hydration and antimalarials. Malaria tests were done in the hundreds while we were there. 
There are days of the week that are dedicated to pregnancy and days dedicated to HIV patients. That day was an HIV day. The pregnant women that we're HIV+ came in, we did weights and calculated BMI on them, made sure they were taking their meds correctly, did measurements on their belly's to make sure baby was growing correctly. I laughed, in the states we use a measuring tape and measure from the pubis to the top of the uterus, there the midwives use the finger widths above and below the belly button, it's hard to explain, but when I followed their measurements with my tape they were almost always spot on. I had also brought a pregnancy wheel to help calculate out due dates. This was a different concept to the nurses, but they were amazed when I showed them how to use the wheels and that my calculations went with their measurements. It just goes to show you that sometimes the old methods still work just fine.
Mid day we had a laboring woman come in with her husband. Her name was Alice, she had walked the kilometer from her home to have us check her. She was in early labor so we sent her out to walk and come back in 3 hours for a recheck. It was her second baby, I was just excited to see a possible birth! When she came back the midwife asked me to go ahead and check her and I did, she was 3 cm, she had made change, but not enough to say she was going to deliver. The midwife checked after me and he said she was only 1cm, I laughed, I would bet every dollar I had on me and my first born that she was not 1cm. Cervical checks are somewhat subjective but the difference between and 1 and a 3 is the difference between one finger width and 2 finger widths side by side, I told him I disagreed. As it got later in the the afternoon we rechecked and she was now 5cm, Alice was amazing, I think all women who labor naturally are amazing!  She walked and rocked, breathed  and moaned her way through labor. We were getting ready to leave for the day when they decided to go ahead and break her bag of water. I knew better, but I went ahead and stayed with my group and headed to Wayando Beach Club with them for dinner and to talk about the day. 

We weren't there 5 minutes when Teddy got the call that Alice was going to deliver. Quickly, Dennis loaded us in the bus and floored it back to the clinic, he was honking and we were waving kids and goats and cows out of our way...we were on a mission!
We pulled into the clinic, Dennis wasn't even stopped when I jumped out and bolted up the hill, crashing through the door of the maternity ward and opening the door to the delivery room... I peaked in and there I saw the new born being placed on mom's chest and wrapped up.....I missed it... I was so bummed. Linnet, the midwife asked if I wanted to weigh the newborn, I gladly accepted the task. I went to grabbed the beautiful little girl and noticed the beautiful lavender eyelet fabric she was wrapped in and made a comment about how pretty it was, that is when Linnet informed me it was the mother's slip! I weighed the little girl and then we grabbed some blue medical towels we had brought to clean the baby up and give her back to her mother. We helped get Alice off the delivery table and out to the ward and into a bed where she could rest holding her newborn daughter, from there we helped clean up the delivery room so it would be ready for the next one, that I WOULD NOT MISS!
The baby that started it all, she is in blue medical towels in this photo,
I regret never getting one of the slip.

Alice and her beautiful baby! I'm not sure who took this photo but we have since used it with the Purple Slip Campaign.

We left and joined our group and had dinner and went back to our hotel. I couldn't stop thinking about Alice and her baby and that purple slip! God spoke to me that night, I'm not sure if it was in a dream or just my time journaling but He spoke to me.  I was upset because I had missed the delivery, but as I look back, that was God's plan all along.  When I got up the next morning, I looked for my small fleece travel blanket that I had brought on the trip, I mostly used it on the plane to keep warm. It was blanket that my daughter Samantha had given me when she was younger. It originally had the name Kayla embroidered on it, Samantha carefully removed the l and the a and it now said Kay and she given it to me for a Mothers Day gift I believe, it didn't matter, it had a more important purpose from here on, it was my gift to Alice for her baby. We went back to clinic that morning and I immediately went to the maternity ward to find her and give her the gift. I told her I knew it wasn't much and yes it was used, but I wanted her, I wanted her little girl to have it, to know that there was love and warmth in this gift and that she had made an impact on my life, that would forever change me.  At the time I didn't know just how much, but in future stories you, my readers will see.
I have told and retold the story of this birth and the purple slip hundreds of times now, and the significance of that simple purple eyelet material grows greater and greater each time.  Never doubt God's timing even when you lay everything out and plan, His ways are better. Had I just been there for the delivery with my blue medical towels, I would have never seen the need, it would have just been watching the miracle of birth in another country. That purple slip pierced my heart and let compassion for complete strangers flow free. Not just any stranger, but that of pregnant women in rural Africa. Women who want the best start for their newborn child but aren't sure how to do it. As a result the Purple Slip Project was born, of course it would be several months after this event happened but the impact this program has been immeasurable. If you would like more information about what the Purple Slip Project is and how to get involved please go to www.projecthumanity.com and click on the Purple Slip link or email me at kay@projecthumanity.com


Saturday, April 11, 2015

A few days off....


The first group of PH volunteers loaded up early in the morning and were headed back to Nairobi, their work was done! Four of us stayed behind, we had signed up for both weeks of work on the island. Week 2 was the medical week, so Mame Fancett remained along with my husband Mac and Len (Leo Trey Fetch) Len had decided during the first week to extend and stay over to help, we were glad, he made us laugh, a lot!  
We slept in, but had also decided that we wanted to see more of the area. We had Mayor Mike make arrangements to get us a boat ride to the little island  you could see from Wayondo Beach Resort. We got to take our first piky piky rides! Piky pikys are motorcycles or dirtbikes used like taxi cabs on the island, you will see everything from 5 people on one to a cow, a couch, a goat, someone once saw a casket on the back of one! We hopped on them in pairs and headed to the resort to meet with the boat crew and go on a new adventure.  
Mayor Mike and Chris, one of the other young men who had been helping out that week joined us. There was another couple staying at the lodge that joined us for the ride. We had 2 row boats meet us. Mac, Len, Mayor Mike and I hopped in one while Mame , Chris and the other couple jumped into the second boat.  We headed out towards the island, about 15 minutes into the ride I noticed the boat taking on water, so we were given plastic buckets to empty water out with, the other boat had to do the same… the crew didn’t seem worried. When we got to the island we followed it around counter clock wise to the opposite side, noticing different kinds of birds along the way, about half way we started noticing pairs of eagles, lots of pairs of eagles! It was amazing! We stopped halfway so the crew could get breakfast.
Birds were everywhere 

A panoramic view off the front of our boat

There wasn’t much to see other than the boats that were anchored on the shore, the islanders probably had a bigger kick at looking at the strange white people.  The crew got something to eat while we visited and looked around.
We loaded back onto the boats and continued the rest of the way around the island. It must have been bath day that day, we got a chuckle out of the bare bottoms of the little kids we saw diving under the water and playing, while their mothers washed dishes at the shore. You read that correctly, they bathe, wash and consume water from the same source, Lake Victoria!  Clean water is on on-going problem on the island.  
 Taking a snack break on the island
Bath day!

Once we had made full circle around the island our guys decide that it would be fun if they rowed and raced the other boat back to shore, the original crew agreed and sat backed and rested laughing as our men rowed us home! It didn’t last too long and the crew took back over, not that Len and Mac were doing a poor job, matter of fact they were in the lead, I don’t think they wanted anyone on shore to see the white men rowing!  
Making it back to shore

Upon returning we got another set of Piky Pikys and took them around the entire perimeter of the island, it was neat seeing more than just the one road we had been on that week back and forth from Kibisom to the hotel. The island is small and even in the poverty that exists there, it is beautiful.
When we finished for the day we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the new group of volunteers that would be arriving late that night. I had to make room assignments, and because of the size of the group Len had to move to another compound down the road. 
We made the room assignments and placed their supplies in their rooms, and created a welcome sign for week 2. We packed Len up and journeyed over to the other hotel about 1/2 mile away to get him checked in, then came back for dinner.
Taking Len to his new home

Our artwork to help welcome week 2 and us goofing around

The group got in late that night, we didn’t really have time to meet any of them other than JW and Sarah Alexander, the other couple from San Angelo (our home), before heading to bed, tomorrow would be a busy day with new adventures!
Darren arriving with Week 2



Have you ever wanted to live outside the box? Do you have the desire to travel to Africa? Do you have  the drive to help those less fortunate than yourself?  If you said yes to 2 or more of these questions you should join Project Humanity on one of our upcoming trips! To volunteer with Project Humanity email me at kay@projecthumanity.com  or go to our website  www.projecthumanity.com and sign up for a trip, you won’t regret it!