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Our 2009 journey to Kenya took travelers from Nairobi to the Western Province to learn about the health issues that affect so many in Africa—and the solutions PATH is championing.

Journey to Kenya, September 14–23, 2009

In September 2009, travelers joined us for the first PATH Journeys trip to showcase our work in Africa. This draft itinerary from that trip provides a rough outline of what to expect from our travel program.

First days in Kenya
Days 1 and 2, Nairobi

Nairobi—the capital of Kenya and the region’s most modern and cosmopolitan city—will be our launching point as travelers orient themselves to the country. This former capital of British East Africa and the setting of the book and movie Out of Africa is a popular jumping-off point for safaris, and the bustling metropolis also offers colorful markets, eclectic dining options, and colonial points of interest.

After resting up from the long flight, travelers will join PATH staff for lunch at our local office and learn about the health obstacles Kenyans face every day, from the AIDS epidemic to poor reproductive health and little access to medical services and clean water. In the afternoon, we will visit the Korogocho slum in the heart of Nairobi to see how a group of women living with HIV are providing clean drinking water to local residents and earning much-needed income to feed themselves and their children.

We’ll also learn about a project led by the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), a longtime PATH partner, to find out why this poor population is more vulnerable than any other to respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, and tuberculosis (TB). Alex Ezeh, APHRC’s director and a PATH board member, will join us for the visit to their project and more, so we’ll have the benefit of his expertise and insights into what’s working in Kenya.

Accommodations: The "country hotel in town," the Fairview Hotel (www.fairviewkenya.com) is Nairobi's only family-owned hotel in the four- to five-star category. In a beautiful garden setting, it is a secure oasis for business travelers and other vistors to the region.

Magnet theater performance in a Kenyan village

Interactive street theater helps communities question social norms that may contribute to the HIV epidemic.

In the field: increasing services, promoting healthy behaviors
Days 3 through 5, Kakamega

In Kenya’s Western Province, a short flight from the capital, PATH is taking a holistic approach to tackling the HIV epidemic: expanding the availability of HIV/AIDS and reproductive health services and targeting vulnerable populations, such as adolescent girls and men, who often find themselves outside the reach of traditional health programs.

Travelers will meet with a local village health committee to understand the epidemic’s toll on the region, see how youth are learning about HIV prevention in their schools, and meet some of the thousands of children orphaned by AIDS. We will spend a morning at the Kakamega prison, where PATH is leading a program to prevent and treat both HIV and TB—an often deadly co-infection—by offering clinical services and support groups for HIV-positive prisoners and wardens.

In the afternoon, travelers will see how PATH is using public theater as a tool for creating dialogue about HIV prevention. We will be part of the crowd that gathers around the actors and participates in this “magnet theater,” challenging societal attitudes that may be fueling the AIDS epidemic and laying the groundwork for new social norms to take hold. Travelers will also spend time with a group of mothers and mothers-to-be who are coming together to keep their babies healthy and safe from mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

At a local hospital, travelers will see PATH’s work in making it a baby-friendly facility that promotes exclusive breastfeeding, understand how providers are addressing family planning and maternal and child health needs beyond the realm of HIV, and watch PATH-designed technologies in action.

Accommodations: Each evening, travelers will return to the Rondo Retreat, a tranquil and secure homestead tucked inside the lush Kakamega rainforest. Owned by the Trinity Fellowship, a Christian organization committed to conservation, the retreat is equally welcoming to secular travelers. Accommodations include a main house of clapboard and colonial-era corrugated iron and five cottages in close proximity to the forest.

Sunset over the misty hills of the Kenyan rainforest

Kenya's rainforest is a treasure of unique wildlife and scenic beauty.

Exploring Kenya’s natural beauty
Days 6 and 7, Kakamega Rain Forest Park and Mount Elgon National Park

Two free days allow the group to venture into these jewels of east Africa to soak up the country’s awe-inspiring environs. In Kakamega Rain Forest, one of the last remaining swaths of the indigenous forest that once spanned the continent, we’ll hike amid the forest’s lush growth beneath towering, century-old trees and encounter the countless monkeys, birds, and butterflies that dwell here. During a day trip to Mount Elgon, one of Kenya’s most glorious national parks, travelers may see leopards, buffalo, giant forest hogs, and other wild animals, including the “underground elephants” that tunnel deep into the park’s caves to feed off rich salt deposits.

In the field: reaching communities with HIV prevention messages
Day 8, Busia and Budalangi

Here at the border between Kenya and Uganda, travelers will see the results of a PATH campaign to encourage long-distance truck drivers to think about HIV prevention when they’re traveling far from home. A series of bold billboards is designed to help truckers and other mobile populations make healthy choices about sex to protect themselves and their families from HIV.

In the afternoon, we will drive to Budalangi on the shores of Lake Victoria, where PATH is working with fishing communities to increase access to health services—including immunization, family planning, malaria, and other common health concerns. Travelers will spend the night in Kenya’s third largest city, Kisumu, on Lake Victoria.

Accommodations: We are still finalizing our plans for this portion of the trip. Possibilities include the safe and lovely Kiboko Bay Resort on the shores of Lake Victoria, where "luxury tents" and stunning views over the lake await the tired traveler.

Two smiling children

Local health programs are crucial partners in addressing Africa’s complex health needs and helping communities thrive.

Day 9, Kasagam and Kisumu

The day will begin with a stop at Kogelo, the home village of President Barack Obama’s father, before continuing to the village of Kasagam. At Kasagam Community Hospital, travelers will visit a community health program established with help from former PATH board member Dr. Khama Rogo, a Kasagam native.

After lunch, we will tour a hospital in Kisumu to learn how adult male circumcision can reduce the risk for spreading HIV and why Luo elders are now endorsing circumcision, despite deep cultural traditions against it. In the evening, the group will fly to Nairobi.

Send-off in the capital city
Day 10, Nairobi

Our journey ends in Kenya’s capital. We will have a final day for shopping, sightseeing, discussion, and reflection before gathering for a farewell dinner. From here, travelers may continue on a privately arranged safari or return to the United States.

Accommodations: In the final leg of the journey, travelers will return to the Fairview Hotel.

Photos (from top): PATH/Mike Wang, CY Gopinath, stock, and PATH/Mike Wang.