A young Maasai woman poses with her three children. Her husband would be considered well on his way to wealth, since wealth for the Maasai is measured in cattle and children.

Richey to enrich classroom with African adventure

Many educators spend part of their summer vacation taking classes to further their own education, or seeking other ways to enrich their own lives in order to be able to offer more to their students in the new school year. 

For longtime New Underwood educator Josephine Richey, this desire to share a new perspective of the world with her students was coupled with her own desire to live life adventurously. The result was a trip to Kenya and Tanzania, Africa, throughout the month of June.

Richey is a seasoned traveler, having spent time in 17 countries throughout her life, including time spent hiking the famous El Camino trail in Spain. Richey had never been to Africa, though. Her interest in visiting the continent, and Kenya in particular, was piqued in November 2014 when she became friends with a man who is a native of Kenya. He spoke of his life in Kenya and his plans to return to his homeland for a visit. In the course of their conversations, Richey was invited to accompany him. 

By Christmas 2014 she had begun making plans. Based on her previous travels, she realized the importance of having a backup plan in case her Kenyan friend was unable to fulfill their plans to travel. This preparation stood her in good stead when her friend indicated it would be impossible for him to accompany her to Kenya this year.  “I decided to go with Plan B,” Richey said. 

Her alternative plan involved a 15 day camping tour, with one week spent in Kenya and the next week spent in Tanzania. With the aid of a travel agency, Richey was put into contact with a guide service that offers tours all over the world and specializes in offering their guests a chance to travel, eat and sleep the way the local people in the tour area travel, eat and sleep. 

This style of travel suited Richey, who believes that life is nothing if not an adventure. There was, however, the problem of finding a travel partner. Richey had promised her daughter that she would not travel without a trusted companion. The perfect person for the trip, Richey decided, was her longtime friend, Molly McGinty. 

Richey and McGinty left the United States June 3 and traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, where they joined their tour group. Richey had wanted to be in Kenya at the time of the wildebeest migration, when the animals travel from the southern end of the country to the northern end. However, Richey also wanted to avoid being in Kenya and Tanzania during the height of tourist season, which is generally in July. By arranging for an earlier tour, Richey and McGinty were able to be a part of a small group- they were part of ten people during their tour of Kenya, and 14 people during their tour of Tanzania. They were the only Americans in their group in Kenya, and were two of three Americans during their time in Tanzania.

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