All the reasons NOT to go to Kenya and the Purpose of my trip
People warned me about going to Kenya. The car-jackings, violence and crazy stories of political unrest. The US Consulate made it official. Friends and of course my mother were very nervous. “There are Al-Qaida Terrorist cells in Kenya. You realize that, right?”
“Ummm. Well, not exactly. Okay. I’ll look into that.”
My local contact in Kenya just days before spoke about the “little war” with Somalia. You remember Black Hawk Down? Well there’s a “mini” Al-Qaida group called Al Shabaab in Somalia that likes to kidnap people for ransom and has sworn to “take down Nairobi.”
“Okay, well note to self. Avoid being kidnapped by the Shabaabers. Check. Brush up on my martial arts training on the plane ride over. Check. Watch your back in Nairobi. Check.” Now let’s get it on!
So why did I want to go to Kenya in the first place?
THE PURPOSE OF MY TRIP TO KENYA (Plus some comedic relief)
I can blame this one on a few things.
First, my past life. I have long has a soul-filled sense about Africa. In fact, for years I have dreamt about it and felt being there already. I met with Carol Mann from the Cosmic Cafe in Jackson Hole this past summer who confirmed that I had spent many past lives in Africa exploring and it felt natural to be called back and that I should follow that calling. Sweet!
Second. MOUNTAINS! When people think Africa they think Kilimanjaro. I used to think that too, until I really looked into it. Kilimanjaro is a nice feather in the cap, been there done that, hike, but to me it lacked the inspiration of a real mountaineering objective. Enter Mount Kenya. Mount Kenya offers technical rock and mixed climbing at 17,000 feet! Only one out of every three who attempt will make it to the summit. BOOM!
Third. The Children of Africa, and Matt Campana. Campy, You are directly responsible! Former GDI Director of sales and now president of Corporate Motivation, Matt had hooked up with Omondi Otieno of ACV Kenya on a project to help children in Africa. How many times have I heard or said, “Finish your plate! There are starving children in Africa!” It was time for some payback.
Interestingly enough, this trip was set to take place a year ago and just a couple months before the trip the ACV Kenya staff was returning from a business trip when their company van was in an accident, killing and injuring several of the already small team of employees. A year later the desire to help ACV was stronger than ever.
Oh – and forth, and certainly not to be forgotten, Ostrich Racing. Since traveling through the mountains in Chile years ago and seeing a Ostrich’s roaming around I have had an odd dream of racing on an Ostrich. Yes, it’s true. The “over the top” weird psychological reason for the whole trip was because of a dream of racing on an Ostrich. Really.
As my brother Todd likes to say, “It’s good to have goals.”
Finally, it’s important to note the support of business colleagues, friends and family for a trip like this. Thanks to all of you, and in particular to Holly Baade, who encouraged me to take the extra time through Christmas to make for a rich experience.
Climbing big mountains. Following a past life. Racing on Ostriches. And of course, helping the children of Africa. Sweet!
I’ll bet I am starting to sound like Steve Martin with his classic Holiday wish of spreading peace for all the children of the world. Right.
Now you think I am weird. Well I don’t blame you, because I am. You are too. Face it. Acceptance is an important part of life.