Email Update from Suzy

Just received this email from her this morning:

Hello! I just wanted to send a quick email and let everyone know that my trip to Mombasa was amazing. I am so glad I was able to extend my trip to see another part of Kenya. I just took a bus there and back which took about 8 hours (ugh!) compared to the 45min flight, but was only about 13USD vs 160USD each way! So, I managed just fine and made it back {****} early this morning. While in Mombasa, I met some great new people and now have friends to visit in Scotland, Canada, and Australia!! I also got to volunteer at a medical camp which was pretty interesting and extremely rewarding… and I have to admit relaxing on the beaches was a perfect ending. I needed it! …minus the abundance of mosquito's! However I also have to confess that I did witness old white men and women promoting prostitution with the locals out at the bars and clubs. I have never seen anything so disgusting in my life. I had read about it, but it's different when you see it. It is sad how people will take advantage of another culture just because they have money [to do so]. But despite all the negative things I have witnessed or experienced here (or anywhere), the positive experiences always outweigh the bad! And I really have met more amazing people and learned more about different cultures in the last five weeks than I ever could've imagined. It is refreshing to know that there are far more good people in the world than there are bad!!! πŸ™‚

Anywho, in case you didn't know, I am flying home tonight! I depart ******* just after 10pm, have a 5 hour layover in Amsterdam, and then will land in Chicago just before noon on Tuesday! I can't believe my time here is already over. It really has gone by so fast. I feel like I could've stayed even longer! It was especially hard to leave the special needs school in Nyeri. They were all praying for me and telling me not to go. Several of the children were crying and throwing themselves to the ground! A little dramatic, but I was so touched and so sad to see how they all were aware that I was leaving, especially those with very limited cognitive ability and/or verbal capacity. The children and the teachers also had a little ceremony for me. I was shocked when they presented me with gifts considering the little money they have and I was so touched when they gave me the Kikuyu name, Nyakio, which means hardworking or dedicated lady. I can't wait to show everyone the hand made jewerly, purse, shoes, and certificate they made for me!! They are beautiful. πŸ™‚ It was also pretty amazing to see the look on their faces when the boxes Kathy sent arrived. As complicated and expensive as it was, there's no price tag large enough to to see the look on their faces. They were so grateful for all of the materials and school supplies. I can't tell you how much it will help. So, thank you Kathy, and a big thank you to everyone who donated supplies and/or money. I will be sending pictures and developing the website soon so you can see where your money went. You definitely won't regret it!!!

Ah, but as much as I could stay here for the rest of the summer, I miss everyone so much and I am running out of money!! Plus, I do miss the luxury of living in America. I think I am most looking forward hot showers with water pressure, high speed internet, my own bed, using a washer and dryer, always having running water, and Chicago style pizza!! I swear I may never be able to eat rice and beans again! Or beef!! Haha! But most importantly, I can't wait to see everyone and be able to communicate on a more regular basis for those of you are further away. I can't thank everyone enough for the phone calls, emails, texts, etc. It really meant a lot to me to hear from you and to have all of your support. I would recommend volunteering through this program to anyone. I have a feeling it will be the most amazing traveling experience of my life.

Love you all so much! Will let you know when I arrive into Chicago safely.

Much love,


Suzy and I on the beach in San Diego when she was three. 1985 perhaps.
I know I changed the photo because she and I were almost in silhouette.
Would not be able to duplicate it because I've forgotten how I did it!

I may very well do a painting of this.

About pam

I am retired from real 9 to 5 jobs. I do my artwork and occasionally write poetry. In September 2010, I moved to Fargo, ND after spending 60 years in Phoenix, Arizona. Now, five years later, July 2015, I'm back in Arizona. And yes, I love the heat!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Email Update from Suzy

  1. gdare says:

    Nice to hear she had a nice and unforgetable time there. But I bet you are so happy she will be at home soon πŸ™‚

  2. PainterWoman says:

    Oh you bet I'm glad. I know she would have stayed longer if she'd had the money though. She really enjoyed helping the kids experiencing a different culture. She may very well have the travel bug now and want to go somewhere else next year if she can.

  3. L2D2 says:

    Pam, such a nice email, and I know you are so tickled that she is coming home whole and hearty. She will always have wonderful memories of this period of her life. I like her new African name. When I came home from France, the first thing I had my sister and brother-in-law do after leaving the airport was to stop at a fast food place and get me the first American hamburger I had eaten in a year. Boy, did it taste good!

  4. Unasia says:

    This post reminded me of my grandmother, She taught early elementry. I remember going through some of her things after she passed and reading notes from students in later life about how she was a bright spot, and a "change agent" in their lives. It appears your daughter has this gift.We often dont get to see the "worst" but when we do, we tend to find good more often.

  5. claudeb says:

    Making a difference in the world feels great. I'm so glad she's safe though. There may not be so many bad people in the world, but unfortunately they're very active. I think Suzy is very brave.And yes, Nyakio is a beautiful, beautiful name.

  6. PainterWoman says:

    Linda: I think the first thing Suzy is going to get is pizza! Maybe even right at the airport because there are lots of restaurants at O'Hare. Clance: I think you may be right. I wouldn't have thought it when she was around 5 or 6. She was a bit like me, shy, timid and didn't talk alot. Claude: Nyakio really is a beautiful name. She is brave too, much more so than I was at her age.There are so many negative things we hear on the news about different countries and we wonder if it all is true. And we wonder why anyone would go to certain places. The news only seems to focus on the bad which scares us, especially when our children are heading to these places….alone. I think I'll cut back on my news watching a bit more.

  7. SummerAngel says:

    Suzy is a brave and amazing young woman. Her big heart and organizational skills have been, and will continue to be, a blessing to the special needs school in Nyeri. Thank you for sharing her journey. :heart:

  8. ellinidata says:

    :hat: Suzy is well,Pam is getting the news and doesn't worryandI say , From mom to mom ,"Pam you did a great job with your kid! " :heart:I wish her a safe trip back home…..:yes:;

  9. I_ArtMan says:

    welcome home nyakio… she tells it well. "the children throwing themselves down on the ground…." wow :happy:

  10. PainterWoman says:

    Annette, you're welcome. My sharing and everyone's comments helped me not worry so much.Angeliki, thanks. I think I did ok with my kids in spite of a divorce. Scott, I know it broke her heart to leave. I have a feeling that she will go back….maybe with recruitments.

  11. Dacotah says:

    Hi Pam, I'm sure you will be happy to have her back. :)What is the address to the website she is talking about?

  12. PainterWoman says:

    Hi Carol, she hasn't made the website yet. She knows someone in Chicago that's going to help her start it. Once she does, I'll get the link for it. She took over 800 pictures and is going to put them up too. It may be just a blog she's going to do, I don't know for sure. I told her about Opera. Would love for her to have a blog here.

  13. Dacotah says:

    Where did the people donate money and supplies than?

  14. L2D2 says:

    That would be nice. Kill a couple birds with one location. πŸ™‚

  15. PainterWoman says:

    Linda, it sure would be. Carol, her sister Kathy in Fargo got either money or supplies from the people she works for and she bought some herself and sent three boxes full of stuff. It was very expensive to mail it because school supplies, especially paper, is heavy. She never said how much the postage was, but her dad sent her some money to cover some of the mailing costs. I have an address for a Sister Mary at the school where I plan to mail a few things. I can't afford much but I'm going to do some drawings of animals, make a poster, have 8 copies made (there's 8 school rooms) and have them laminated.

  16. L2D2 says:

    How nice of you Pam. Be sure to sign them. Sounds like they are so destitute that any decoration is pure gravy. I know they will appreciate it. Post what you paint and let us see it before you send. OK?

  17. Dacotah says:

    Oh, I see Pam. Thank you. They will love the drawings. :up:

  18. gdare says:

    Originally posted by PainterWoman:

    She may very well have the travel bug now and want to go somewhere else next year if she can.

    Next year? I bet it will be later this year πŸ˜€

  19. claudeb says:

    Originally posted by PainterWoman:

    There are so many negative things we hear on the news about different countries and we wonder if it all is true. And we wonder why anyone would go to certain places.

    Even if it was all true, reporters are prone to exaggerations. Plus, by failing to mention the good things, they make it seem like those places are all bad. Which is, of course, absurd. The world is more complex than that.E.g. with all the reports I hear about TSA abuses, I might be afraid to fly into the U.S. Would that fear be warranted? Also, there were some recents cases of abuse by the Phoenix police. Does that mean Phoenix is a bad place to be in? Probably not, and of course not.But I have a better example closer to home. Maybe you've heard the scandals last year, when a few Romanian criminals did some nasty stuff in Italy (rapes, robberies). It was bad, of course, and it shamed us all, but the Italian public's reaction was totally overblown. There were cases of persecution against Romanians who lived there peacefully, voices asking to expel them all and close the Italian borders, etc. As if Italy didn't have its own criminals (including several mobsters who were caught in Romania). Naturally, throughout all this, Italy was mostly a safe place for Romanian tourists, not to mention vice-versa.Yes, if you come to Bucharest, there are certain neighborhoods you'll want to avoid, the traffic is downright scary, etc. But someone who knows the city can show you all kinds of interesting places, and most people are civil and nice. Why would I think things are all that different elsewhere?

  20. gdare says:

    :up:This is the same for most of the places I have been. There are positive and negative sides, but people are mostly friendly. I hope I will visit Timisoara, Bucharest and Constanca one day :up:

  21. claudeb says:

    @gdare I'll be happy to show you around.

  22. gdare says:

    Thanks, I will let you know when I decide (i.e. when I got enough money πŸ˜› )

  23. PainterWoman says:

    Lois: Thanks. She did enjoy it very much.

  24. PainterWoman says:

    Darko: If she travels later this year, I hope it is to Phoenix for the holidays. She will start work at a school in Chicago for the rest of the summer. Then, after sending out resumes, she will be working (hopefully) at a different school from September to May.

  25. PainterWoman says:

    Linda, I will definitely post them when I get them done.

  26. PainterWoman says:

    Claude, I agree completely. When I visited Vietnam in 2007, I was a bit afraid because it is a communist country. I had heard so much negativity about communism as I grew up that I was scared……needlessly. I met my daughter-in-law's family and all her friends and it was a very enjoyable visit. They were all warm and friendly. If I had been alone, I would have been very fearful because there were more poor people in the streets who approached you very closely asking for money. This happened to Suzy every day she was in Kenya. I don't even like strangers approaching me here in my own city! The same happened to me and a friend when we went to Europe ten years ago. As to the Phoenix Police, I have great respect for them. The few times I've had to call them, they were at my house within minutes. All were very respectful to me. I am not afraid of them at all. To me, it's all about attitude. If a person is approached by a policeman and they get all defensive, their voice raises, they get angry, etc., it is an alert to the policeman. He has to be on guard. We've had quite a few policeman shot to death just for a routine traffic stop. I think everywhere it is the same.

  27. cakkleberrylane says:

    It sounds like she has enjoyed he ecperience as much as they enjoyed having heer there. What an awesome opportunity!!

  28. Dacotah says:

    πŸ™‚ This is totally new, her and her friend will love it. πŸ˜€

  29. Suntana says:

    Great E-mail, Pam! It's almost like we know Suzy. We really wanted her to have a safe experience over there, while of course, having fun. It did go by very fast. What was it? A month? 6 weeks? For a while there I didn't even remember whether you had said she'd be there for 1 or 3 months.I can just imagine the Good Byes scene there between Suzy and the kids and teachers. Good Byes are always tough.By the same token though, I can certainly envision the joy, excitement and relief to finally be getting back to her environment with everything she's used to.Did the supplies package include a computer?Glad that now YOU, Pam can be wayyy much more at ease now that Suzy's back in Chicago. I of course, don't have any kids, but can imagine on some level the relief you now have.

  30. PainterWoman says:

    Carol: Yes they will.Carlos: It was initially a month she was to be away but she extended it a week to visit another place for some R & R. I could almost feel the good byes. It must have broken her heart. There were probably tears all the way around. No, there was no computer, just lots of paper, pencils, crayons, markers….things like that. My other daughter Kathy called me around noon to tell me that Suzy had texted her that she was home in Chicago and on the train to her place. Then, just a bit ago, I talked to Suzy. She said she felt really good as soon as she got home, then about an hour or two later, after a hot shower, she suddenly felt totally out of it. I would imagine she's going to sleep 12 hours or more. Those long flights do a number on you and the jet lag lasts several days. For me anyway.

  31. edwardpiercy says:

    Sooner or later, the lack of pizza always wears you down. :pPam I am happy for you that she is coming home. I imagine that you must feel very relieved. I imagine that 5 weeks will be among the most important of her life. Just a guess.

  32. PainterWoman says:

    Or the lack of a hot shower and a good night's sleep. I wonder if she got over her fear of spiders. She wasn't too happy about the huge black ones she'd find in her room. The body was the size of the palm of your hand. "I imagine that 5 weeks will be among the most important of her life."I think you're right.

  33. studio41 says:

    nice to read this email… what an incredible experience and trip! will be exciting to learn more of her trip… wonderful you have her back safe and sound!great picture, too, will make a wonderful painting, please post if you do it!

  34. PainterWoman says:

    Thanks Jill. Yes, good to know she's back. Can't wait for her blog with all the photos. Or at least I hope she sends me a few of them. Now I can take the 'international plan' off my phone. When I signed up, I forgot to ask if I could take it off in a month. I don't think I'll be calling anyone else across the waters.

  35. transi says:

    great pix

  36. PainterWoman says:

    Transi: Thank you very much for the compliment and thanks for visiting.Carlos: Yes, they were that big.:eyes: :faint: They kind of sound like tarantulas but she didn't even want to talk about them after the first time. So I don't know if she saw them in her room every day or night. She did say she didn't sleep much the first week because as soon as she'd fall asleep, she'd wake up really fast, throw the covers off her bed and look for them. Ok, now I'm getting the creepy crawlies. No more spidey talk! I keep looking under my computer desk now!

  37. Suntana says:

    Spiders with bodies the size of the palm of our hand?Are you SERIOUS? Like on a Daily / Nightly basis she'd see these creatures? They weren't Tarantulas? I wouldn't be able to sleep if palm-sized spiders shared my living accomodations.

  38. Suntana says:

    Hopefully the mosquitoes weren't as big as Humming Birds. :insane:

  39. PainterWoman says:

    πŸ˜† Geez, I hope not. Mosquitos love both of us.

  40. L2D2 says:

    Mosquitoes go miles out of their way to flock to me and suck my blood. I think they prefer my blood over any other. πŸ˜†

  41. studio41 says:

    nearly chewed alive was my husband last night! we ran off from our picnic and slathered on some anti-itch lotion… ahhhh. sweet relief!

  42. transi says:

    u r welcome. nice to joined ur opera:)

  43. PainterWoman says:

    There is something about certain people that mosquitoes like. I've heard different stories like, we're more salty, more sweet, things like that. When I or my daugher get stung, the bites swell up to fifty cent size. Once she got stung on her elbow and didn't want to go to school the next day because her arm looked deformed. One time I went for an interview and I was wearing a long, sort of flowy skirt. I had to walk through an atrium to get to the office. I paused for a couple of minutes to admire the plants. That was my mistake…pausing. I immediately noticed the mosquitoes and left. Little did I know that two of the culprits had flown up my skirt. During the interview, I kept feeling a stinging sensation on my legs. I didn't want to appear fidgety so I ignored it. Being fidgety apparently means you are unreliable according to these new types of interviews. Sometimes you are videotaped during these interviews and I suppose also scrutinized. After I got home, I realized I'd been bitten about six or seven times. My legs had big reddish welts all over them.

  44. Suntana says:

    Last night I got my first visits by mosquitoes for the season. :bomb: They love to hang out below my computer desk and when I'm wearing Shorts, they love to munch on my feet and legs. :furious: At first I wasn't sure if my itching was mosquito-related since I had yet to have any encounters with them this season. But, when I was on the couch taking one of those semi-naps, I was Buzzed. :insane: It's official. They're Baaa-aack! πŸ˜₯

  45. L2D2 says:

    First time I have ever heard of mosquitoes preventing being hired for a job! Aahahaha

  46. PainterWoman says:

    Could have been the reason Linda. I did NOT get the job. πŸ™„

  47. studio41 says:

    my son swelled up, too,… if I ever find the picture, right smack dab in the middle of his forehead, swelled to a point– looked like a one-eyed alien boy.

  48. Suntana says:

    Pam, you should have done like President Obama with Interview-intruding Fly. You should have stopped your interview and smacked the mosquito. Then resume the interview as if not much happened. πŸ˜† My ankles seem to be mosquitoes' favorite target. :bomb: Pam, maybe there's something different about elbows. I too have in the past gotten some pretty BIG bite swells when bitten in the elbow area. When they bite me in my ankles or elsewhere, they seem to be normal bites. But, those on my elbows, they can last big for days.

  49. SummerAngel says:

    The SSS works on the FL mosquito, maybe it will on yours. I hate that movie 'The Fly'. My son thought it was so cool when it was on Dish. I can't even tell you if it was b/w or color. I didn't make it past the scene where he threw up on the donut and then ate it. Needless to say, he watched the rest of it by himself. :yuck:

  50. PainterWoman says:

    πŸ˜† Yeah I should have just given my legs a couple of big smacks….but I didn't know what was stinging my legs. I thought it was just from being nervous or something but then, I'm usually not too nervous for interviews. Sheeesh! My ankles are favorite mosquito food too. Years ago, like in high school, my boyfriend and I went to an amusement park which had a lagoon. I was 15 and that was the year I found out the buggers liked me. The pants I was wearing were called 'pedal pushers', now called 'capris'. Anyway, they left my ankles a perfect target for sitting around on a park bench by the lagoon. There must have been 10 or 15 stings on EACH one of my ankles! :eyes: I looked like I had leprosy or something! Luckily it was during the summer and I didn't have to appear at school with lumpy ankles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s