VH1 Classic channel was on my TV this morning and the song “Africa” by Toto came on. The video, as are many videos from the 80s, was cheesy but the song is beautiful.
Back in May of 2010, Kaitlyn was in undergrad at Campbell University and she went on a trip to Tanzania in Africa with members of some of the faculty and students to assist a medical facility and orphanage there which was very good experience for her in going into the medical field as well as wonderful trip to a vastly different world.
There was much planning in this trip. Many vaccines had to be received; passport had to be obtained, many hours in class learning about the culture there, what they would be doing, and the area. She so looked forward to this trip and I was so excited for her.
When she first got there, they were able to experience the best of Africa, such as a safari and staying in a fine hotel. But after that, it was on to the orphanage to help in a clinic there and she was not able to email from then on and existed a very sparse existence like they all do in that area.
I listen to a radio station that plays all kinds of music from the past and present and they often played the song “Africa” on there. While Kaitlyn was gone, I heard that song many times and thought of what she was doing there. After she came home, I still heard it many times. Now that she is gone, I still hear it such as this morning and it takes me back to the time when Kaitlyn was in Africa. This was to be a trip that was just the beginning of the many trips around the world that she would take in her lifetime. So now her Passport lies dormant in a box that looks like a book on her table that is now in my living room. The rest of what I have of her trip are memories of what she told me about it, pictures that she had on the walls of her apartment when she died, and the emails she wrote.
Below are parts of two emails that she wrote when she first got there and was able to have internet access. Next, I’m putting some pictures that were taken while she was at the clinic/orphanage. Then I want to include a beautiful video I found that shows much of what I’m sure she saw while she was there with the song “Africa” playing. I love you Kaitlyn, may you be seeing beauty that goes far and beyond what is here on Earth.
We are here in the Ngorongoro Crater, and it is breathtakingly beautiful. Today we went on safari through Lake Manyara, and it was absolutely gorgeous. We saw baboons, impalas, warthogs, lions, buffalo, hippos, egrets, and so many more that I’m forgetting about already. It was absolutely amazing. We are staying at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, which is probably one of the finest hotels I have ever stayed in. I had lamb stew tonight, and we were serenaded by traditional African folk music. I watched the sunset over Ngorongoro, and I cannot describe how beautiful it was. I never expected it to be this gorgeous. It is just something you have to see to believe. Tomorrow we go into the crater, and then we set out through the Serengeti. After that, we head out to Ntagatcha village, then to Shirati.
Today we safaried down into the Ngorongoro Crater, and I must tell you that is the most breathtaking place I have ever seen in my life. It is absolutely gorgeous. We saw a lioness with three cubs, and it was almost reverent. We also saw two black rhinos, another pride of lions, a herd of elephants, along with zebras, impalas, gazelles, wildebeast, hyenas, dozens of exotic birds, and many more. After the crater, we journeyed into the Serengeti, and that is where we are staying tonight. My room overlooks the plain, and I watched the sun set tonight. It was absolutely beautiful. I cannot wait to tell you all about it.Tomorrow is the last day of our safari, and we are heading to Ntagatcha village to the orphanage.
Below: Kaitlyn with African children.
Below: Kaitlyn assessing a child at the orphanage.
Below: The group walking from place to place. Kaitlyn in the pink shirt. The females have to wear dresses or skirts.
Below: Some of the group she went with.
Below: All of the group from Campbell that went on the trip to Tanzania.