For the last five years I have not been able to travel to USA because I could not get a visa. However, in April, 2015, I learned that I had been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award as well as a Master Scholar Award by the University of Denver, where I am an alumni. I was very excited to win these prestigoius awards, my only worry was whether I would get a visa to travel to receive them. To my pleasant surprise, I was give a visa and so was able to travel to Colorado.
The awards were not the only things that excited me - the thought that I would see my friends who I had not seen for the last 5 years, visit my son and daughter was icing on the cake!! The IPI Board of Directors in USA were as pleased as I was because I had not seen them all for that long, although at least one of them visited IPI in Kenya every year. It was a great pleasure to see them all again. It was wonderful to reconnect with Michele Hovey and her lovely family, catching up on 5 years of prayng for each other across the waters!!! It was nice to spend time with Margi Ness, immediate past Board Chair o IPI, USA and her partner Jim. The Board hosted an event in Boulder - such a lovely gesture for I met many of my Boulder friends!!! The cake with the map of Africa was a killer!!! They told me that I was the one to eat Kenya!!! It was great to meet Gina, the wonderful IPI USA Administrator!!!!
I was in USA for nearly four weeks. I was able to see friends, partners and colleagues in Missouri where our current Board Chair lives, Nancy Ross and her family. Nancy organize a cocktail event where I met quite a large group of her friends and people who through her have supported IPI's work over the years. It was wonderful to meet her lovely family - her two daughters have been to Meru through the Students Shoulder to Shoulder program. Nancy showed me Ferguson and most of St Louis!! Beautiful and welcoming people!!!
From Missouri I went to beautiful Park City, Utah where I met my friends from Park City Community Church who visit KACH every October. We had a great time with Reverend Tracy; Beth and Gil; Lisa and Tom and the PCCC family!!! They invited me to preach at the PCCC the Sunday I was there. It was a wonderful fellowship, reunion and great time of being shown the Olympc Park where I 'partook' of some wild past times like taking the Alpine Car and the zip .... something!!! - a seat you slide in down some slope on a wire!! I tried the ropes and scary height walking across a pole 'miles' above the ground - and after four parts, I could not move a finger, or foot for that matter!!! I had to be 'rescued'!!! It was all fun though - once I was safely settled on solid ground!!!
From beautiful SLC, I went to see my dear friend Nancy Hodous in Cleveland, Ohio - for great talks, yummy milkshakes and wonderful food!!! Her family is alwasy wonderful. It was great to spend time with David her husband talking about many things that had happened over the years. She drove me to Michigan to see Drew my sn and Fredah my daughter. It was sweet to introduce Nancy to my kids!!! After 2 days, Nancy went back and left me in Michigan where I met our partners, the MichiKen group from Michigan University, Ann Arbor. We had a great time there of talking about their trip to Kenya in June as well as plans for the future!! I preached at the United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor.
My last leg was Detroit where I spoke to teenage parents who had dropped out of school. It was delightful to share with the kids and experience their enthusiasm to 'recalm' their lives and stay in school.
This trip was wonderful in all ways. It was great to meet so many friends!!! It was great to see my kids Drew and Fredah and my pleasure to show them the Universities where I studied - Illif School of Theology and University of Denver!!! To crown it all we raised money for a solar water heating system, a bole hole, a cow, a cooker and sponsorship for some of our children at the children's home!!!
THANK YOU ALL for making my return to 'my home away from home' so wonderful!!! I hope to come back!!! YOU ARE ALL always welcome to IPI and KACH in Meru, Kenya!!!!