Alhimisi (Thursday)

We visited the Nairobi National Park, the world’s only national park within sight of a major city. There, we saw gazelles, rhinos, lions, giraffes, zebras, baboons, and crocodiles.

We also checked out the adjoining elephant orphanage, and got to watch baby elephants feed and drink milk from big bottles. We also got to touch the elephants!

We also visited fabric shops in Nairobi before heading home.

Back in Nairobi

Yesterday, we visited Lake Victoria before we caught our flight back to Nairobi. We saw hippos, and egrets. It was cool to be at the source of the Nile, the world’s longest river.

The group visited the Maasai market in Nairobi and bargained for goods.

After the market, we experienced reentry as we visited a western-style supermarket and ate dinner at an upscale Nairobi restaurant.

Today, we went on a safari at Nairobi National Park and visited an adjoining elephant sanctuary. At the National Park, we saw giraffes, zebras, lions, gazelles, hippos, rhinos, and the Nairobi skyline simultaneously.


Today was our last day at the Care Center. Tears were shed as the Emma girls bid adieu to their new friends at the KOCC.

Ida saying goodbye to Katie.
Maria and the KOCC girls.
My new friend Brigit.
Paula, Nicole, and the KOCC.
The Emma girls singing a goodbye song.
Ines spreading international cheer.
The two coolest guys I know.

Back to Madrid

Traveled back to Madrid to enjoy the city once more. At the Reina Sofia museum we learned about modern art with a focus on the cubist movement. We saw work from Picasso, Dalí and Juan Gris. Next stop… USA!!!🇪🇸🇺🇸

London Day 2

We got up, had a good breakfast, and took our coach back in to the city centre. We met our guide, Mark, at the Natural History Museum, a stunning Gothic Victorian building. We drove past Harrods and passed by Hyde Park. We drove around the famous landmark of Piccadilly Circus and in to Trafalgar Square. We then drove to St. Paul’s Cathedral and had a photo opportunity. We crossed over the River Thames and had views of Tower Bridge and the Tower Of London. We then drove down to Westminster Bridge and saw The Houses Of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. We left our coach and went to Buckingham Palace, just catching the tail end of the Changing of the Guard. We then walked to Trafalgar Square again before going for high tea at Brigit’s Bakery. After a delightful tea, we explored Covent Garden and bought some last minute souvenirs. We rode a red double decker bus to St. Paul’s cathedral and had time to cross over the Thames, on The Wibbley Wobbley Bridge. We had dinner before heading back to our hotel. Tomorrow we’re homeward bound!

The Lorraine Motel

On our last day of the Civil Rights tour, we visited the somber location of Martin Luther King’s assassination on April 4, 1968. The Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN hosted Dr. King many times over the years in his Civil Rights work, and it was this final visit to Memphis as he was supporting the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike when he was shot by an assassin from a window in a building across the street. Although the place feels surreal when you visit, the emotions are palpable and poignant. The motel has been turned into a Civil Rights museum; one of the most powerful visits we experienced on the week-long journey.

Jumatatu (Monday)

It’s been another great day! We visited two local primary schools. I met a 10 year-old aspiring rapper named John. Ines and Maria taught kids to play duck-duck-goose and to sing Spanish songs.

We also visited new KOCC homes, and experienced residential settings few of us could have imagined. Tina also met a cute kitten!

In a neat turn of events, the rainy season (which has been long overdue) appears to have begun, as it rained very hard today. Hopefully that will mean daily rain for the crops that Kenyans depend upon.

London Day 1

We were up and had a good breakfast before heading in to central Edinburgh to catch our train to London from Waverley Station. We went along the Northumbrian coastline and passed Durham Cathedral. We viewed York Minster en route to the English capital. Once in London, we drove to our hotel, dropped off our luggage & then rode the tube to get our dinner. We walked through Parliament Square, passing Westminster Abbey on our way to dine. We had a fish and chip supper with peas. A special guest joined us at dinner – Caroline’s sister Caitlin, who studies in London! After dinner, we walked to Buckingham Palace, resplendent in the evening light. We then walked down The Mall and in to Trafalgar Square. We walked across the River Thames before taking a train back to our hotel. We are excited to explore London more tomorrow!

Final day in La Herradura

We took advantage of every moment of the day to spend time with our host families on our last day here. We ended the day with a farewell party in a castle on the east side of town. Families and children brought all sorts of potluck goodies and we ate until our stomachs were stuffed. We also had the pleasure of watching some young flamenco dancers perform for us. ‘Twas a fabulous last night in La Herradura. ¡Olé!


10,000+ steps and we have officially completed our adventure to Pampaneira, a beautiful, rural town on the top of the Sierra Nevada mountains. In the morning, we rotated in three groups and learned how to use a loom, visited a chocolate factory and tasted some samples of freshly cut ham and cheese by our new friend, Pepe. After lunch, we headed on a stunning hike on the GR7 (Gran Recorrida 7), a long distance trail through the Alpujarra foothills that links multiple small villages. We then loaded onto the bus for a short travel back to La Herradura and rested early for a day of family fun!

Jumapili (Sunday)

Jumapili (Sunday) is a big day here. Last night, we fell asleep and woke up to the sounds of all-night church services. It is common here to spend all Sunday at church.

Morning service at the Friends Church by guest pastor Ida, our benefactor. Sermon title: “Lest We Forget.”
A store in Kakamega. Note the advertisement for China Aid; China has a sizeable charitable and business presence in Kenya.
Parishioners leaving Sunday service from another church in Kakamega.
KOCC students competing in the sponge relay as part of the games course organized by Paula, Maria, Ines, and Nicole.
More wet happy kids.
At the end of the games, each team performed a team song. There has been lots of singing and dancing on this trip!

So far it’s been another unforgettable day. The girls have been resilient and curious all trip, and have never shied away from experiencing Kenyan culture. This afternoon, they played soccer with the KOCC kids.

Speaking for myself, I know I will have fodder for thought and reflection for decades to come, and I suspect the girls will find similarly.

Each evening, the KOCC holds a “parade,” a time when all the kids and staff members meet to exchange motivation, news, and well-wishes. Tina shared a poem at this one – a beautiful verse reflecting on being present in the moment – that sums up the trip for me so far.