Trip Bulletins

08.17.14 Kenya Trip Bulletin: Gorilla Permits / Ebola Fact sheet / Grand Openings

Hello Executive Team

Another update to keep you connected with the upcoming trip.

Those of you who are going to Rwanda will need to be prepared in 10 days to purchase the permits for the trek.  We have been holding off but tourism is picking up and the agents in Rwanda are wanting some funds.  The permits are $750USD and is included in the price of the Rwanda portion of your trip.

Please make sure that you have at last that much in your account.  This is non-refundable and I will contact you again before we purchase. 

I have also posted an EBOLA Fact sheet as it pertains to Kenya from the world Health Organization (WHO).   It is a relief to many country leaders that WHO has finally declared this a world-wide emergency.  This allows countries to put many of the measures recommended by the WHO and countries can now be held legally accountable if they do not follow the WHO mandate. Amsterdam, London, Kenya, Dubai where flights connect from West Africa have put in place recommendations that will make it much safer for passengers to connect.

The fact sheet and other updates are available at this link

https://www.abwcanada.ca/trips/executive-trip/

One of our big water projects is now ready and the local MP is scheduling an opening during our visit.

Another team from ABW USA is in Kenya and finishing their last week of work. They are reporting that they are having a great time and that they have not encountered any issues of safety or health.

We still have some time to make a final decision and I will be contacting you in about 10 days.

Thanks once again.  Eric

From the Archives –  Enjoying a nice evening of fire out in the jungle – The Collicutt family performing for the group.

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Gorilla Trekking – a closer encounter in the wild with Gord Bontje

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08.04.14 – Kenya Trip News Bulletin: Executive Project has started / Map of our travels / Win 2500KSH by answering one question…

Hello friends,

Hope you are all enjoying the summer and getting used to the heat!!

The $500 you are contributing through the trip will go towards one of three classrooms we are building.  This will be opened during our visit.  Here is the latest picture showing the progress.

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Our route map: 9 nights of our trip will be spent in game park lodges and we will travel to our projects from these lodges.  Weather permitting, we will do a boat safari and some of you will want to do a hot air balloon safari. We have planned a minimum of 7 game drives.

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Win 2500 KSH by answering this question…the first three people to email me the correct answer will win the cash

One of the lodges we will be staying at faces acres of grassy areas. The hippos come out at night to graze on these fields.  You will be escorted for your dinner by security guards.  What is the name of this lodge? See pictures below.

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At the end of our trip a team of 8 doctors, 17 support staff and 6 physiotherapists will be arriving in Kenya and will follow a similar route to ours running medical clinics and training local doctors.   This is the 6th annual medical trip and almost all are from Central Alberta. Our trip will involve some preparation for their trip. Rick and Sharon Wiebe, owners of Carpet Colour Centre in Red Deer will be with us.  Rick is the (volunteer) project Manager for the area called Male ( Malay) and Northern Kenya. This is his 8th trip.  He manages and funds many  projects for A Better World in this region.  He will remain for the medical team’s arrival and guide them as well.

07.20.14 – Kenya Trip News Bulletin: Next few steps to take…

I am now in Tanzania after completing a successful trip to Kenya.   We travelled all over Kenya and to Lamu where there has been some clashes.  Keith and I had a great time there working on our projects. We as a group will not be going there. We still need to plan our trip with care as things can change.

I am sitting in the Serengeti in Tanzania  overlooking the plains with animals roaming all over.  Like Kenya, Tanzania also has beautiful scenery, wild animals and people in need.  We are scoping out projects and sightseeing opportunities for a trip to Tanzania in 2016.

We have a wonderful group of people now for our fall trip.

23 people have registered and 15 of them are also extending their trip to Rwanda.  We have now made the deposits and confirmed our seats.  We also have a medical team of 22 people arriving from Red Deer after the executive group departs.

45 people from across Canada and the USA will be engaged in service.

Those planning  on going to Rwanda will need to have the deposits for the Gorilla permits my August 10.

We are processing the deposits on your credit cards as per the dates stated on your trip information package.

I will contact you with the needed amount when I get home at the end of July.

Kathy Lacey and I will meet to review some details and confirm the orientation date.  The date for all of us to meet is set for Monday, September 8 in Red Deer. We will confirm the time.

A few other things to check out:

Ensure your passports have at least 6 months before expiry from October 20

Please set up an appointment to get your immunizations.

I will have limited e mail until I get home but please feel free to write me with any questions.

Thanks again for joining the trip.

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07.09.14 – Kenya Trip News Bulletin: Celebrating What’s Right in the World

Hello friends,

Keith Leavitt (Board member and Education Director for ABW) and I have been in Kenya now for 10 days.  Keith has another six days and I have another 14 days before I come home. We have traveled extensively throughout the country and seen many of our projects. We have been on a 14-hours per day every day schedule so far. We are energized by the positive changes we see by the involvement of A Better World.  Thank you.

 We can assure you that there has been no security issues of any kind in the areas where we work and where we will be travelling in the fall. I recognize that can change. High tourist season has started, so lots of tourists are here. The Red Alert area is for Lamu district. The region along the coast in the bordering jungle areas of Somalia are where the issues are. As a group we will not be near there. Keith and I will be heading to Lamu island to see two of our projects.  We are not concerned and will not abandon the mentally handicapped children in their struggles.

What was most rewarding for me was how Kenyans handled the July 7 political rally. I was here 5 years ago when violence broke out after the elections and saw what tribal feelings and politicians can do.  I ended up staying here and helping for 3 months. It was great to see the lessons Kenyans have learned and how peacefully the rally ended.  Keith and I were celebrating what is right in the world, something I think about when I face challenges in my work here (read more on this below). We hope as we plan our fall trip that things will continue to be calm.

 On Monday of next week I will put the $100 deposit that KLM needs to hold our seats. This will not be refundable if you cancel. Then we have until August 30 to make the next payment.  We would like 4 more people to join us so please pass the word as we still have some seats.

Thanks very much,

Eric

Celebrating what is right in the world

Today was a travel day for me and a school visit day for Keith. It was also a day to celebrate what is right.  This day could have been marked as a day of violence. Instead the news is peace. The opposition called for a rally in downtown Nairobi.  Many locals feared that there would be violence. We were asked to be cautious on our travels today.  We know someone every 50 KM along our routes so phone calls confirmed that it was completely safe. We ventured on and encountered no issues. 

The rally in Nairobi ended peacefully.  Kenyans are tired of political rallies and violence.  Millions still have no access to clean water and thousands of students can’t move beyond grade 8; the poverty continues so today. The masses recognized the need to live peacefully and focus on the need to improve their lives and not get caught up in things does not help them move forward.

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06.18.14 – Kenya Trip News Bulletin: KLM says no pressure…

Hello friends,

I have been in touch with our drivers and local people in Kenya as well as with KLM. The drivers are on Safari with tourists.

KLM says no pressure or rush to make a decision for those who are booking through us.  We can wait until July 12 to  confirm without losing our deposits or seats.  If by then we are not sure we have until September 5 at which time we will only forgo $100. We will not be paying more than $100 to KLM until we are all sure of the situation.  Your money is safe.

I will be In Kenya and Tanzania next week and I am exploring Tanzania for humanitarian work and the Safaris are great.  We have a few projects there and the opportunity to help is great.  I will scope and assess the situation and write to you from Kenya.

So relax, no pressure, stay the course and enjoy the summer.

Eric

06.17.14 – Trip Bulletin # 2 –   3 Questions

Hello friends,

As of today we have 25 people confirmed and most have made their bookings and paid a deposit.  As Kathy Lacey and I went over the confirmed list of travelers, we realized the group is looking like and engaged, energetic, fun loving group.  Thanks very much for your participation.

As it happens, more times than we like, whenever a trip is in the works there arises an incident that causes concerns for all of us.  Here  are 3 questions Kathy and I need to answer for you today and throughout the trip.

1.     Are you concerned about safety? Yes, we are always concerned about the safety of every one we take on trips.  That is always our TOP priority from the time we plan a trip and until we come back.  Every angle is looked at and security matters reviewed frequently. From taking over 2500 people to Kenya and other parts of the world we are aware that if we worry about this everyday then we will not enjoy the trip.  We will not put you in harm’s way.

2.    How do you manage the security? Our key to safety is our people’s advice who are on the ground. We listen to them and have contact for every 50KM of our road trip.  We are so well connected to every community that we work in that the local people are your best source of information and protection.   We know what areas to avoid and when not to travel.  Our drivers have a very close ear to the ground.  We are in close touch with the MP for each area of our travel and I have contacted them for their advice.  In a nutshell, once we leave Nairobi our areas are very safe. However, we will continue to monitor the situation.  The recent attack was in an area completely isolated from where we will be.  It is a jungle area and I was within 100KM of that village with my entire family several weeks ago.

3.    What alternate plans do you have? Because Nairobi is the hub of East Africa and more than 10,000 UN workers live and work in Nairobi, all major areas are well protected and daily security bulletins are issued by the UNSO which we will be reviewing.  There is travel advisory for most African countries year around so don’t be alarmed by that.  We have Tanzania as a great option for Safari and we will be beginning work there as early as next month and can experience great safaris and humanitarian work.  Interestingly, I am booking a group of 20 medical volunteers the day after our trip and the planes are full for Kenya and we have had to find other dates.  That is an indication that the incidents are confined to certain areas.  I will keep you informed.

I am leaving for Kenya and Tanzania in one week. I will be with a small teaching team and will be visiting all of the places where we plan to be in the fall.  Last month my whole family and I  with 31 students traveled all over Kenya. At the end of the trip our family with my wife’s brother, sister and  mother extended our trip to Lamu and even to Mkowe which is  100KM from where the latest incident took place.  We never felt unsafe and the local people were with us. I am saddened that so many lives depend on tourism and such incidents cause so much pain to many local people.

I will keep in touch.

Eric

06.10.14 – Kenya Trip Update: Price reduction on  Airfare – ACT quickly

Hello,

Advantage Travel of Lacombe has told me there is a substantial price reduction from KLM to Nairobi and Kigali.

The airfare now is $1725 return to Nairobi and only $25 more or $1750 for the extension to Kigali. See details at bottom of this e mail.

To confirm this we need to know final numbers. Please follow these instructions:

a)    If you are going on the trip and want to book through Karen and have not done so please contact her immediately.  ABW will not be booking any tickets ( even if you are not deviating) so everyone needs to contact her unless you are booking with another agent.

b)    If you have already booked please let Julie have your itinerary with costs so she can issue a tax receipt.

c)     If you are booking with another agent or on line please send the itinerary with costs when you have completed the booking so we can issue a tax receipt.

jstegmaier@abwcanada.ca  – Julie contact or 403-782-0325
karen.whiddon@travelplus.ca – Karen contact or 403-782-6160

Thanks very much,

Eric

Details:

Here is where it stands with regards to group space on KLM>

I currently have  the following booked—total 31 seats

18 Seats –Fare is  $1725.00 per person

Leave Calgary  20 Oct  3:20pm  arrive  Amsterdam  8:15am 21 OCT

Leave Amsterdam 21 Oct 11:15am arrive Nairobi 8:10pm

Leave Nairobi  02 Nov  10:40pm arrive Amsterdam 5:10am 03 NOV

Leave Amsterdam 03 Nov 12:40pm arrive Calgary 1:55pm

7 passengers  –Fare is $1750.00 per person

Leave Calgary  20 Oct  3:20pm arrive Amsterdam 8:15am  21 Oct

Leave Amsterdam 21 Oct  11:15am arrive Nairobi  8:10pm

Leave Nairobi  02 Nov  11:50pm arrive Kigali  12:15am  03 Nov

Leave Kigali  06 Nov   8:20pm arrive Amsterdam 5:55am  07 Nov

Leave Amsterdam 07 Nov 12:40pm arrive Amsterdam 1:55pm

06.06.14 – Following up from our orientation meeting…

Thanks to everyone who was able to attend our meeting on Wednesday.  It was great to meet you and looks like we have a fun group of people committed to Kenya and some to Rwanda.

I have checked on the flights to Kenya and Rwanda on KLM and there are plenty of seats.  We have set aside 25 to Kenya and 10 to Rwanda from Kenya.  So please hurry and let us know of your plans.

You can book with anyone, go on points,  make stop overs as long as you are in Kenya  when the group arrives.

Our group agent is Karen at Lacombe Travel at 403-782-6160.  Please contact her to confirm your dates and schedule.

Group departs Canada on Monday,  October  20 and arrives in Nairobi on Tuesday,  Oct 21 at 8 PM.

Group departs Nairobi on Nov 2 to Calgary or to Kigali.  Please do not book your flights to leave  prior to 10:30 PM as we will not be getting into Nairobi that day until 6 PM.

Anyone not planning to  go on this trip please ask your name to be removed so you are not bothered by trip e-mails.

I will update you again soon.

Thanks,

Eric