One of the great joys of my life has been sharing my love of travel with my younger sister, Rebekah. Our shared adventures include a three week road trip through the American West visiting 13 states and 7 national parks. We once drove from Ohio to Homer, Alaska, spending a spontaneous summer together in the Last Frontier. We’ve traveled along Lake Superior’s scenic North Shore and camped at Southern California’s San Onofre State Beach. We learned to surf together in the Pacific Ocean and kayaked for the first time during one of our journeys to Colorado.

Rebekah and I on safari at Kenya's Maassai Mara.

Rebekah and I on safari at Kenya’s Maassai Mara.


When I told her that I was heading back to East Africa she decided that she wanted to join me this time. I welcomed the idea of taking our initial trip together overseas, especially since this was our first chance to travel since she has given birth to two beautiful little boys.

During the most difficult parts of our journey I reflected often on how amazing it was to have a sister along who was so perfect for such a trip.

Rebekah found a way to make it happen so two weeks into the trip I took a taxi to the airport in Uganda to pick her up. I could hardly believe how blessed I was to have another chance to travel with my sister. She walked through the airport and into the Ugandan evening looking more adventurous than ever.

Over the next few weeks we spent countless hours on buses, walked for miles through mud and rain, often went without showers, ate unfamiliar foods and all the while pushed ourselves to connect with people and to accomplish our goals for the trip. Amidst the challenges Rebekah never complained. During the most difficult parts of our journey I reflected often on how amazing it was to have a sister along who was so perfect for such a trip.

Rebekah with Valerie, one of the little girls from the village of Rakwaro in Western Kenya

Rebekah with Valerie, one of the little girls from the village of Rakwaro in Western Kenya


Children gravitated to the loving way that she reached out to them. She brought gifts to give to people everywhere we went. One little boy hardly put down the toy car she gave him for the next several days. Her knowledge of agricultural best practices fascinated the people of the village. She resonated with the needs we encountered, contributing her unique input on how we might make a positive impact. Without her creative tastes and input, much of the progress we made would have been impossible.

Together we appreciated some of the world’s finest coffee originating from East Africa. Our safari into the Maassai Mara filled us both with wonder and made it into her top three travel experiences, she said. For a well traveled woman this is no small feat. I am so proud of Rebekah and grateful for the traveling companion that she has been both while traversing the US and now East Africa.

Rebekah and I on one of our many crowded bus trips.

Rebekah and I on one of our many crowded bus trips.


To learn more about our project in East Africa, go to YadumuProject.org