Last week I returned from a safari to Kenya with Prestige Plus , a travel club of Laconia Savings Bank. Twenty seven of us rode Land Rovers through miles and miles of some of the most beautiful landscapes, sunrises, and game reserves on this planet. The expanse of the parks and numbers of the animals made me feel quite insignificant. That is until our last day, when we were to visit an orphanage in Nairobi. Like LSB, Collette Vacations is a strong supporter of the communities it does business with and assists local efforts to improve the lives of those who need some help. It brings its travelers here to see a part of Kenya not usually visited by tourists. We brought donations and were asked to help open the new building of the Tenderfeet Education Center. On the way, we stopped at a local grocery store and bought school supplies to bring with us. Another way we got to see Nairobi up close.
We drove through a slum of 60,000 people to this small cement building that educates and feeds and gives hope and love to 80 orphans from AIDS ages 2-10. After Valerie Drouin, VP and Rodney Dyer, Chairman of the Board of Laconia Savings Bank, cut the ribbon the children sang a song about Kenya. In the chorus they sang Valerie has a friend in Kenya, and Rodney has a friend in Kenya and the visitors all had a friend in Kenya. They were so happy to have us and so very grateful for our support. And invited us to please come back.
There are many plaques throughout NH thanking Laconia Savings Bank for its help. But the one in Nairobi is quite special.
I did feel that the money I spent on safari helped the local economies. But what I left there made a far greater impact, perhaps on me more than them.