21-May-2014 - Hi Yvonne,
First of all I loved the trip! The entire trip. Every park was so different and unique with its own character. Thank you so much for your recommendations and so happy we did not return to Nairobi. My only regret with the itinerary was that I would have wanted to stay longer at each lodge to enjoy the scenery and accommodations. Each lodge was so unique and different. Who would have known that driving time, because of the road conditions, would gobble up a big chunk of our time? Distances on the map seemed so much shorter than real time. But as you know, that's part of the adventure and a choice we all made as away to see more land and animals. What I appreciated was that the driverguides were flexible enough to alter the schedule according to our needs. And that one lodge in Tanzania on Lake Victoria was wonderful, a place where I could have stayed for days. Did you know they were Dutch also?

All of the driverguides were outstanding! Simply amazing. The passion they had for animals, land and country was infectious. Leonard, Oscar and Yaya really knew a great deal about animal behavior, ecology and ecosystems. What they didn't know, they would look up and tell us later, as they each had a library of books in their glove compartments. They spoke in biological terminology which we all related to. I felt completely safe with Rashead, trusting his driving and judgement on just about everything. He made our trip so much fun with his humor, wit and explanations of culture, current events and history as they relate to Kenya. Richard connected with him around so many issues and was quite sad to leave. Rashead was so careful, kind, respectful and gentle with me and my disability. In fact, all the driverguides were. I really enjoyed the Tanzania crew very much. At lunch on the first day Oscar and Yaya brought out the map explaining in detail what we were to expect for the next week. I'm smiling now as I think of all our idiosyncrasies they put up with around bush pees and shopping. We were like chasing chickens for them when they would let us out at a shop! Oh, what patience.

All of the lodges were top notch. Some of our rooms were larger than our house! As you probably already know, Amboseli was the only lodge that was truly accessible from their reception area to their rooms. But every lodge was helpful in their staff and rearranging space to accommodate our needs in wheelchairs. I'm embarrassed to admit that they were alot more accommodating then some of the hotels here, that give us the worst rooms and views. Every lodge made it clear that they would do whatever it takes to make us comfortable. And the food! The selections and portions were over the top! I was in hog heaven, eating way to much. We enjoyed eating picnic lunches so we could stay out longer, finding our lunch boxes always stuffed with yummy selections. If anything Yvonne, I felt very humbled and ashamed that we were eating more and better then some of the people around us.

So a couple of things Yvonne. I'm interested in hearing and knowing about your work with keeping girls in school. Either disabled or not. It's evident to me how important education is for girls who may not always be given the same opportunities as boys. With the abduction of those Nigerian girls along with the violence towards girls in marrying early or rape, I'm feeling more compelled to do something, anything to assist and empower African girls. Do let me know more about your work or that of others in East Africa.

I love African music, although all we hear primarily are musicians from West Africa. I realize you probably don't specialize in this, but what are the chances that you could put together a 'musical package' that could combine music and culture? In East Africa of course? I do want to come back sometime in the next year to Tanzania, Kenya-maybe if its still safe, Mozambique, or anywhere else in East Africa. Just a fantasy thought.

Okay I'd better sign off or this won't get sent.

Thank you Yvonne and it was such a pleasure meeting you. And your crew!

Karen Yust