There are three large bags that must make their way from my barn office in Vermont to the hot arid plains of northern Kenya. The bags contain my usual list of supplies – satellite phone, first aid kit, traditional African dresses, camera and laptop supplies and the ubiquitous large hat. What occupies most of my luggage space however, are shirts and wristbands. 25 collared shirts for the BOMA Village Mentors, with our new tag line “Prosperity with Dignity”.
I also have a set of soccer shirts for the Mt. Kulal Primary School soccer team and 2500 glow-in-the-dark-baby blue wristbands imprinted with “BOMA Fund” and “Prosperity with Dignity”. The wristbands will be distributed to participants in BOMA’s Rural Entrepreneur Access Project, or REAP and it will solidify their membership in a growing movement of economic self-empowerment in Laisamis and Karare region. Baby blue is a favorite color of the Rendille and Samburu and I hope the glow in the dark touch is a hit.
After a few days in London I am ready to arrive in Nairobi. Kura, BOMA’s Operations Director, will be waiting for me . After a night at the Fairview Hotel, and a day of meetings in Nairobi, we will head north to the town of Nanyuki, BOMA’s new office location. In addition to our 4th floor walk-up office, we have rented the “Nanyuki Tree House” from a friend. Situated just outside the town, I had visited the house a few months back but it was late at night so I don’t quite recall the property, quite possibly because it was one of those surreal nights when Nanyuki was on lock-down as British helicopters circled overhead in response to a threat by El Shabab, the Somali version of El Qaeda. It is a 3 bedroom house and this will be my home for a few days before we head north. Our first BOMA Fellow, Sarah Ellis, will also be there and her reports on the house are positive. Can’t wait.
So many things will be new on this trip. Most importantly, the birth of Kura’s second baby, due any day now. After a day of preparation and provisioning in Nanyuki, Kura and I will pack up two vehicles and drive north, to Laisamis district, one of the poorest places on Earth.