My Mom turned 80 in 2020. Our family celebrated her birthday in Wisconsin in July 2020, seems so long ago. Some people wore masks, it was outside, we had surprise grandchildren show up, and great grandkids too. Not grandkids that were a surprise but grandkids that surprised Nana. I have three very close friends with surprise relatives. Thanks 23 and me. I had wanted to give my Mother the gift of going to Kenya to see the Giraffes at The Giraffe Manor in Nairobi.
So we planned to go to Kenya at Thanksgiving 2020. Shortly after making the plans, but before actually booking tickets, Covid made us cancel the plan. Kenya shut down it’s borders. I was very sad. The very next day, a fellow Rotarian and district governor elect ( a big deal in Rotary) called me and asked if I had any interest in a possible dental project in Kenya?!? Serendipity?
The movie, Out of Africa, has been one of my favorites for so many years. It has given me so much that is my life. It inspired me to take flying lessons, broadened my love for animals, Mozart, the Maasai, and of course, world travel. Karen Blixen, played by Meryl Streep, was from Denmark and had a farm in Africa. The location of her house is where the Giraffe Manor is today.
So, Dan Gensler, the District Gov, put me in touch with someone named Joe. He contacted Dan somewhat randomly and asked for help. His village is three and a half hours from Nairobi and has excessive fluoride in their water which is causing brown teeth and soft bones. Could we help?
Joe is around 20, lost his job due to Covid and wants to make a difference in his village. We have been communicating through text and a couple zoom sessions and random phone calls for over a year. He joined a newly formed Roteract Club and immediately became president.