We were driving from the airport to my husband’s home town in Germany when my iPhone pinged, signalling incoming mail.
“What on earth is this”, I asked my husband, “Someone is inviting me to Kenya”.
“Some kind of project, they contacted me through Jump! Mag. They are impressed by my work and want to take me to Kenya”, I frowned.
Opening Safari on my phone, I googled the name of the project, International Reporting Project and clicked on Wikipedia. My eyes widened as I scanned the page. IRP.. gate-keepers… Paul H Nitze School… John Hopkins University…
On the IRP website I found this:
The program was created in 1998, making it a pioneer in the “non-profit journalism” movement that seeks to fill the gap left by much of the mainstream media’s reduction of international news. The IRP has provided opportunities to more than 300 U.S. journalists to travel to more than 100 countries to produce award-winning stories.
The IRP has sent journalists, senior editors and bloggers to more than 100 countries to report on global issues. Their “Gatekeeper” trips take senior editors and producers for 10 day journeys to countries such as India, China, Peru, Indonesia, Egypt, Lebanon/Syria. This year, for the first time in their 15 year history, they are inviting 12 bloggers from around the world to go on a Gatekeeper trip. The trip to Kenya will focus on issues of family planning and health, visiting urban and rural residents, talking to youth leaders, health officials, NGOs, looking at environmental health, economic and social issues of population growth.
My husband and I sat in stunned silence. “It starts on your birthday”, I remarked.
I reread the information.
“You have to go”, he said. “You will regret it for the rest of your life if you turn this down”.
In June of this year, I will travel to Kenya. I will blog both here and on Jump! Mag about my experiences, and hope to offer readers an insight into the reality of life in Kenya. My particular focus has always been the rights of women and children, so this will give me the opportunity to truly broaden my horizons and highlight some of the problems faced by Kenyans.
I have a lot to do to prepare for this trip. My knowledge of Kenya is at present sadly lacking, so if you have any tips on informative books to read then do let me know. My visa has been applied for, the plane ticket is booked, vaccinations arranged. I am honoured and slightly apprehensive but most of all very excited.
Kenya, here I come.