Dear Friends,

Jessie seldom has the internet, however she sent a couple of messages to me via WhatsApp today and asked me to share some of her adventures and news with you.  The first message simply said:  “Leaving for 12 hour car ride, must rush.”   They all sound road weary with sore bottoms and muscles, but what they are seeing and doing is mind-boggling.  Yesterday they drove to a “cutters” house.  That is what the women are called who do FGM (Female Genital Mutilation).  Even though outlawed by the government some women have continued to do it ~ it is their way of earning money and  as Jessie writes, changing customs takes time.  Karimu has installed solar lights in some of the cutter’s  homes which allows them to make a few shillings charging phones and hair-clippers.  With the lights some of the women are learning English and how to read.  Jessie talked to some of the women last night and said the women are trying to convince others how wrong this is.   They are gradually making headway in making it a gender crime.  

Her next message said they are one-third of the way to the Serengeti so the boys can see the Big Five.  It will be good for Tim and Hugh to have the joy of the Serengeti.  They have seen some very sad things; it is time for them to see the majesty of Africa.  On the way Hugh had some intestinal  problems  from eating a goat kidney at the cutter’s house where they installed a solar kit.   Wherever Jessie and I have been they want to feed us and we have had some rather interesting things. You have to accept their hospitality so I commend Hugh for his bravery and willingness to give it a try.  The last time Jessie and I were there we were served grilled goat livers that were black as tar and hard as rocks.  Today (yesterday?) they encountered  six dead donkeys on the road.  She said it was a gory sight.  Musa, their driver, said they had probably come out at night looking for food and were mowed down by a big truck.  On another trip they blew a tire.  That too is not unusual. 

Jessie says there is no time to rest, read or process all of this.  So, I am trying to process it here in Whispering Pines.  We both know that we cannot change the world but we do know that Karimu with the help of our many donors is making a difference in lives far far away from Pinehurst, North Carolina.  I try to remember that Mother Teresa said:  “If you cannot feed a hundred people, feed one.”  That is what we are trying to do.  

The time difference is 7 hours, so by now it is 10:00 p.m. on Saturday and I haven’t a clue where they are now.   Jessie will have some wonderful experiences to share with us when she returns home.  One last thought ~ as tired as we have always been we almost always cry when we leave!  That’s how much we love Africa.

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