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« Stop! Shots from my noon-day walk, including four wheeler art, ice bubbles, momma moose; cat looks out the wrong window | Main | Sujitha's own words on why she has volunteered to work at the children's home in Kenya, coupled with images of Kalib and Jobe »

A few thoughts on Suji's pending journey, journeys I have taken and how a young woman from Nigeria brought into my life by cats is now ready to help - set against the shadows of my morning walk

As you can see at top right, I have now made and put up a customized button for anyone willing to contribute to Sujitha's quest to serve as a volunteer at the Nyumbi Children's Home in Kenya. To cover her transportation to Kenya and her living expenses during the six weeks she plans to stay at the home, Niece Suji will need approximately $2000. Although I have not seen all the donations done by bank transfer into her account, I believe she has about $500 of this amount so far.

I know that to some of the many who love Sujitha, her pending trip is cause of concern and worry, for they fear the dangers they believe might await her in Kenya. I understand this fear. All those who love Sujitha most have already suffered the devastating pain inflicted by the loss of Soundarya and husband Anil. They don't want to see Sujitha face danger.

I also understand the need she feels to make this trip and carry out this humanitarian mission among the AIDS orphaned children at the home in memory and honor of Soundarya - Soundu - Sandy. I know how such a need, ignited by the worst kind of pain and loss, can compel one to leave the comfort and safety of home and set out on a journey. More than once, I have set on such journeys myself - most recently, to India, where I joined Sujitha, her brother Ganesh, her loving and caring mum and dad Banu and Ravi, her grandpa Natarajan and her aunt and uncle Vasanthi and Murthy on a long train ride from Bangalore to Pune.







It was deep pain that drove me to take that journey, a need, if not to fully understand what perhaps cannot be fully understood, to at least come to grips with it and to move on through life.

I believe it is a very similar feeling now compelling Suji to make this journey to Africa.















And what of the dangers? They are real - from the dangers of malaria (which people also warned me about each time before I went to India, but I never got it) to physical danger. Yet, dangers await everywhere, from Bangalore (have you ever seen the insane traffic there?) to London, to right here in Wasilla - where a walker might slip on the ice and fall and crack his skull.

One cannot do anything of significance in this world without taking significant risk.

There is another kind of danger - to feel a strong desire, a deep need to do something, but to also feel fear and then to let your fear - or the fear of others - stop you from ever doing it.

Going on 32 years ago, I took a journey and brought my wife, three young sons and baby daughter Melanie with me. Practically speaking, the journey made no sense. It would be a long journey - an expensive journey to make. We had barely enough money to make it, but no money to return if the journey went sour. No job awaited, I knew no one at our destination. Winter would fall shortly after we arrived and winter would be cold - not a good place to be homeless.

My parents, my brothers, my sister - they did not want me to make this journey. Certain I would come to my senses, when we reached Salt Lake City I found my brother Rex had even found a job for me at the Salt Lake Tribune, but I refused to take it. They couldn't tell me what to do and they knew it, but they tried hard to talk me out of it. 

I understood their fear.

I felt some fear myself. 











My spirit told me I had to do it. Margie felt fear too, but even before we married I told her this was a journey I had to take. She said she would take it with me. So we hit the road and off we went.

I refer, of course, to our journey from Arizona to Alaska.












And what if I had let fear stop me? My fear, or the fear of those who loved me?

Had I let that fear stop me, perhaps today I would be living in physical comfort - perhaps with much more stability and security than I have now.

Maybe I would now have a retirement plan - a pension, health care.

Yet, I would feel lost.

I would be plagued by the ache, the pain, of knowing that there is a place up there, called Alaska, a place that called to me but I did not answer and so lost all the magnificent and wonderful experience that has come to me - and my family - all because I turned away from that which was safe and did what my heart told me to do.

Suji has communicated her feelings to me on this matter. Her heart tells her she must do this. I believe her heart.

And a bit of an amazing thing has happened, which I believe will help to ensure her journey will be as safe as possible. Before I started this blog, before I started my Wasilla by 300 and Then Some blog, I made my first blog, No Cats Allowed.

One day, I found a comment left by 'Toyin Ajao, a young woman in Nigeria who loves cats. She kept a blog of her own - The Activist - and in it dealt with many serious issues facing women, and African women in particular, but every Tuesday she devoted her posts to cats.

She loved my cat blog and told me never to take it down. 

We communicated frequently. She had cats of her own who liked to reproduce. She needed to get them neutered, but could not afford to. It would cost $250 - A LOT in Nigeria. I suggested she put a Paypal button on her blog to raise the money, but Paypal would not allow its buttons to go on Nigerian blogs. So I made a button for her, put it on my blog, and we raised the entire amount. She got her cats neutered.

To make a long story short, 'Toyin won a scholarship to attend a conference in Chicago for women bloggers and from there, the world opened up to her. 'Toyin is living in London now, but she is going to Kenya in November. I introduced Suji and 'Toyin to each other through Facebook. They got together in London, face-to-face, and became friends - just like that.

Once she arrives at the children's home, I am certain the Jesuits who run the place, and the Kenyans who help them, will see to it that Suji is as safe in Kenya as she would be any place in the world. As for getting there, 'Toyin knows Africa. She has traveled widely. She is going to help Suji make certain that the trip from London to Nyumbani is as safe as it can be.

Now... as to the images in this post beginning and ending with Kalib and Jobe playing with trains, it just happened that way. When I began my morning walk from which I took the images that appear here, I started out by walking past the opening scene.

Upon my return, I entered the house and then walked past this closing scene.


I want this post to stay at the top for awhile. So I will not post Saturday night, maybe not until Sunday evening - then I will take you grocery shopping with Kalib and Jobe. 

You will leave the store exhausted.

Or at least I did. That's another reason I am not going to post Saturday.

Reader Comments (2)

I remember like yesterday important it was that I neutered my cats and how Bill help saved the day .
My cats are happy and healthy today and I have gained an eternal friendship through that. Bill is that friend .
I support Sujitha in this journey... It is indeed one significant one!

October 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStandtall-The activist

Haven't stopped by the blog in a very long time! In all honesty, I went into a complete financial meltdown and could simply no longer afford internet service at home anymore, since I could basically use it for free here at work. It was a big time total bummer when I found out your blog would not load in my browser at work!!:( Well, we got new puters, at work now, so I figured I would check the blog, and lo and behold I can read your blog again!! Not every image loads, but most of them do!:) It’s actually quite nice, I have pages and pages of blog reading to catch up on
I wanted to say that this post makes a whole lot of sense to me right now, at this point in my life. Sometimes you hear/read the right things at the right time. I hope she makes it soon!

April 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChrissyinPA

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