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What a Year, What a Trip!

The past two months have been very busy and so inspiring. Well Aware’s Holiday Concert was the most successful (and most fun) event we have had, and we were overjoyed by your response to our year-end giving campaign.

All the hard work that my team put into our December activities, and the outpouring of support you gave our organization at the year’s end, helped us launch our December - January team trip with a great deal of momentum.

We have been in Tanzania and Kenya now for two weeks. Theo, our Tanzania project lead, facilitated meetings and field evaluations for the first few days, and she’s a force. We would not be making the progress we are in this new country (for Well Aware) without her.

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But, the work isn’t always easy. On the way home from our field work in Kimotorok (about 3 hours from Arusha), we got stuck on a muddy road in a flash flood. The passing we were to travel across to get back to our hotel turned into a raging river. It was almost dusk, and there was no other exit. You might imagine our relief when the water dropped and we were finally able to cross and made it back safely just in time to toast to the new year (this was New Year’s Eve).

After those adventurous days in Tanzania, the team crossed the border into Kenya to begin more work there. Our technical wizards, Mary and Wendy, guided us gracefully through the many nuances of a drill in rural Kenya, and the rest of the team conducted evaluations for new work in Kisumu. We met so many wonderful people where we hope to work this year, and I got to speak with Dr. Auma Obama (Barak Obama’s step sister) to discuss possible partnerships for large-scale water projects in the area.

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When we visited one of our newly completed water system rehabilitations in Ratta, we chatted with the director of the girls’ boarding house there. She explained to us how the lives of these young girls are changed now - since they have water in their hostel, they no longer have to walk outside at night to use the latrines, which was very dangerous for the girls and provided no hygiene needs. Now, they need only cross the hall at night with light from their new solar and water to flush and wash. They are safer and healthier, and they do not live in fear of being attacked or becoming ill.

So, thank you for helping to make this possible for these girls. You are their heros.

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We have left Kisumu now to spend two days in the Mara for more evaluations. We will see five possible projects and maybe even see some elephants (here’s hoping).

I will leave out of Nairobi with mixed emotions (I will be so, so happy to see my daughter, though leaving east Africa is always sad for me), and the remaining team with continue on to do more project reviews and qualifications through the 18th.

This work is tough, and the hustle we have to have in the US - fundraising, project management, etc. - is exhausting. But, being in the field, and being reminded of the incredible impact we are having together for these communities replenishes my soul and my inspiration to want to do even more.

Our gratitude runs deep. We couldn’t do this without you. You are changing lives, entire communities, with us, and we thank you.

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Follow the rest of our journey on our social media channels!