by Dylan Boyd and Savannah Causey
The Rotary motto of “Service above self” became our lifestyle along for our group of Interactors (middle & high school), Rotaractors (college & carriers), and Rotarians, recently in Kenya. Our group from Arizona Rotary District 5495 had the incredible opportunity to join David and Candice Talbot on a distribution trip in July with Crutches 4 Africa. The team spent a little over two weeks traveling and to fully immerse ourselves in Kenyan culture. It was incredible to not only participate in the distributions, but to also to interact with the Kenyan people. Our distributions took us to both urban and rural areas to give people, who never thought that mobility could be possible, something as simple as a pair of crutches or a walker.
In our first week our team was home-hosted by members of the Rotary Club of Naivasha. These Rotarians invited us into their homes and showered us with love and generously shared their culture with us. Each morning we piled into our bus along with the Rotarians and Roteractors from Naivasha and traveled around Naivasha and surrounding villages. These Kenyans had prepared all of the distributions we would be doing during the week and found those disabled that were need of mobility devices. They organized the entire week and were even able to bring a TV network out during our first day in order to spread awareness of our efforts.
The second week came with a whole new set of experiences and opportunities. After wrapping up our time in Naivasha with a hike through Hell’s Gate National Park, we traveled to Narok where we were met by a group of government officials and individuals who had traveled from near and far that were in need of the devices that we had brought with us from Naivasha, tied to the roof of the bus! The area was given a large bulk of the items that had traveled with us from Naivasha. This was an incredible interaction between our American team and the local people. After a night of rest in Narok we then made the journey to the Masai Mara where we spent three nights in tents at the Prescott College field “campus”. While there we had the opportunity to do more distribution and to see some of the amazing wildlife in the area. Also staying at the “campus” were students from our home state of Arizona and to share about their past 6 weeks was a phenomenal way for all of us to compare our experiences.
It is not often that American students have the opportunity to travel to Africa, let alone to help others. Our team ranged from 14 to 76 years old and there was not one individual that did not benefit from this trip. We learned about the culture and the people of Kenya, but we also learned about ourselves and our own culture. It is because of this trip that members of the team have even changed their majors in college and finding that their future is now set on helping others in the world around them. This was expected to be the trip of a lifetime, and we’re sure that from an outsider’s perspective it was, but to us it is just one of many trips that we will have in our lifetime. David has taken his own struggles and used those to make his mark on the world and has shown us that all it takes is that first trip, that first opportunity. Now we are on our way to making our own mark and hope that his impact will only continue to grow with our help and the help of people all around the world.
Just returned from our distribution trip in Uganda and received this note of thanks from someone we recently helped.
Hello Mr. Talbot this is A.C.R. from Gulu Uganda. On Behalf of persons with disabilities in Gulu district thank you very much for supporting us with the crutches. Please convey our appreciation to Crutches 4 Africa.
Convey our greetings to your colleagues, wife and other family members. We hope to see you again. I wish you God's blessings and good health in your work.
Hello David and Candice,
Hope you are fine and got home well. Thank you for the mobility aids which improved the mobility of those with mobility disability. Thanks for the dresses too which clothed naked children, some of whom you will never meet in life.
Your service put a smile on people's faces. The African lunch was good and thank you because I don't take sharing a meal as a very light moment in life. Wish you well and God bless you as you continue to bring hope and a smile to people's lives.
Regards from Rotary Club of Jinja. In the same spirit greetings to Rotarians of your club and your family members.
Watch TV news coverage of volunteers loading a shipping container with donated mobility devices in Maine.
This past spring The Rotary clubs of Borger, Dalhart & Dumas Texas invited David and Candice Talbot to come and share their vision about Crutches4Africa. Soon they commenced their collections. Reaching out to their communities through schools and places of worship, they collected over 1,000 pieces of equipment! Thanks to Larry (a firefighter) and Jim for driving this trailer load up from Texas! We unloaded the mobility devices into the AFW warehouse yesterday.
We met this 4 month old girl in Africa on our most recent visit. She was disfigured by a cleft palate and not thriving due to her birth defect. Her future was grim. By 6 months old, she has undergone reconstructive surgery thanks to Crutches 4 Africa. Her future is now bright and promising!