Tomorrow is the day I start my journey back to Africa. I am so eager to get back and reconnect with our friends in person! It has been a year since we have seen each other and so much can change in that time! So many people have been asking about the trip - I thought I would let you know our plans!
This past week has been spent busy gathering the generous donations and it has taken us a day and a half to sort through and pack them. GIVE5 bags for an entire school and all our artist's children... wow! School supplies, safety gear for our artists, underwear and sanitary products for some of the young women (so important in order to keep girls in school!), and so much more!! THANK YOU! It is such an honour to deliver this for you all. AirCanada may freak when they see our SEVEN hockey bags full! Needless to say, we were restricted to a small backpack (carry-on) each for ourselves... so plan to see me in all the same clothes most of the week. Don't worry, I'll wash them in the sink. :-)
This trip will be my sister, Marcie, accompanying myself which is so exciting! My sister is an amazing, behind the scenes person who has helped and supported JustOne since it was just an idea in my head. Where I am the ideas person... Marcie is the practical one. So I've asked her to help do some research as to where some of the needs lay, and what we can do to meet them in the future. This is her first trip to Africa and I can't wait for her to see the place that has captured my heart.
This trip we won't be coming home with loads of merchandise as we have done in the past. One of our biggest challenges is communication - and so this trip we will be taking time to work on designs in person with our artists, going to see where they purchase their supplies and what materials are available. This will better allow us to get the best quality merchandise in the future. Don't worry - we will have some new items.. but there will be a lot more exciting ones coming soon! This trip will be about reconnecting - seeing what needs done and what has been done to improve quality of living. It will be documenting stories and finding ways to best communicate. And hopefully meeting with new artists also!
We leave March 1 - but there are no direct flights to Kenya from Canada. So, we have decided to take the LONG layovers. After a red eye flight to Istanbul - we will be spending the day touring Istanbul, and then it's another red eye flight on to Kenya. On the way home we will do the same long layovers - but this time in London. So we leave March 1 - but don't panic if you don't hear that we're in Africa right away.
If you would like to journey alongside us on the trip - make sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for photos and stories! We will be using the hashtag #justonekenya2015 if you want to quickly find all the updates on social media! (Last year's trip was (#justonekenya if you want to look back!) Let us know what you want to see more of or what you would like us to ask our artists when interviewing them!
For now, I best get some sleep as the next two nights sleep is on an airplane!!!
Thank you for your support, encouragement and just being awesome!