Back to America!

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A few supporters at our Santa Cruz fundraiser, with former volunteer Mike in the middle (white shirt).

A few supporters at our Santa Cruz fundraiser, with former volunteer Mike in the middle (white shirt).

While it is true that I haven't written a blog post in a while, that surely doesn't mean that we haven't been busy! With everything on the ground in Kenya running smoothly, I was given the opportunity to come back to the United States of America for a whirlwind of a fundraising tour. Between Connecticut, California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Colorado, we have done some amazing events with even more amazing people. While I miss Kenya and cannot wait to return in April, being back in America has so far been a fantastic and productive experience.

From the studio of The Hugh Hewitt Show!

From the studio of The Hugh Hewitt Show!

We have held multiple fundraisers and have even more planned - from Santa Cruz (California), to Dallas (Texas), to Ridgefield (Connecticut). I have been able to and will continue to speak in front of groups (schools, Rotary Club, and even our local library) to raise awareness. In Irvine, Orange County, California, I was grateful to join one of the best radio broadcasters in America, Hugh Hewitt, to discuss Arrive on the air. It was my second interview on the show and besides the inevitable nerves, I really enjoyed our conversation. The audio for that interview is available if you email info@arrivekenya.org.

Left: Max and I in Los Angeles. Right: Brian Smith and I in San Francisco. Bottom: Jake, Nell and I in Malibu. All are past Arrive volunteers.

Left: Max and I in Los Angeles. Right: Brian Smith and I in San Francisco. Bottom: Jake, Nell and I in Malibu. All are past Arrive volunteers.

One of my favorite parts of the trip has been reconnecting with past Arrive volunteers. When volunteers return after their time in Kenya, their relationship with Arrive does not simply end. We love for volunteers to become ambassadors of the organization and help Arrive continue to grow. Meeting with just a few around the country was remarkable - I saw how their experience in Kenya changed their lives and continues to be a fundamental influence on how they live their lives today.

We have sensational plans for Arrive in the upcoming months. From new promotional movies to solar energy, more volunteers to Arrive Fit, sponsoring more girls to attend secondary school to teaching the kids how to ride a bicycle, stay tuned for what will surely be a remarkable time for Arrive. But for now, as I sit in the United States, I will reflect shortly about the transition from, what is in my mind, two completely different worlds. Coming from Kenya to America is always quite the culture shock and this trip has proven to be no different. I deal with the many conflicting emotions by remembering some of my favorite quotes and stories, one of which I would like to share with you.

The quote is short but sure doesn't lack meaning. Written by one of my favorite authors of all time, Roald Dahl, it says, "...'Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.'" Whether in Kenya or America, I am always looking out for any connection, person, or "secret" in the most unusual spot. As Roald Dahl says, it is these "secrets" that have propelled Arrive to where it is today and have enabled us to help countless orphans and street children. I like to think that the meaning of "magic" is up to interpretation by each reader.

With my stay in America already halfway over, we are grateful for everyone who has come out to learn about and support Arrive. However, while I do chat with the folks in Kenya everyday, it is no substitute to living there. I can't wait to return to Keumbu and welcome new volunteers to our magical home to embark on magical projects. If I have learned one thing since starting Arrive, if you search for magic in Keumbu, you will most surely find it.

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