From the time she was a little girl, Wendy aspired to visit Africa because of her father’s World War II pictures and stories including those about his pet monkey. While in the U.S. Army Air Corps between 1943 and 1945, her father visited/was stationed in ten countries (one of which is now four separate ones) before returning stateside. Wendy first achieved her dream in 1997 when she and Rick safari’d in Kenya and Tanzania for two weeks. But clearly, Africa called her back.
The Walleighs moved to Swaziland for six months in 2006 then to Nairobi, Kenya for 2007 to work for TechnoServe as part of their encore careers, also traveling extensively while living there. Since 2007, Rick and Wendy have traveled to Africa several times, most recently in May 2012 to Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda. Throughout her travels Wendy has been astounded by how much rural Africa is still similar to her father’s pictures from 60 years ago. Though of course the urban centers are larger and more modern, sadly the surrounding slums are also huge compared to the 1940s. In any case, Wendy recognized how much of a life-changing experience her father’s 2+ years living in Africa must have been for him. Her time in Africa certainly was life-changing for her.
Wendy and Rick's first day trip in 2007 was about two hours north of Nairobi to the so-called soda aka alkaline lakes, which attract thousands of Flamingoes every year because of these lakes' huge population of fresh-water shrimp (lending the Flamingoes their pink...read more
Langata Giraffe Sanctuary: Even without U.S. visitors coming to Nairobi, Wendy and Rick wanted to visit the famous Langata Giraffe Sanctuary on the outskirts of Nairobi near the town of Karen (named after Karen Blixen of Out of Africa Fame). It was founded in the...read more
Approximately 10% of Kenya's population lives in Nairobi, population 4 million--about 4 times the total population of Swaziland. It sprawls over many miles with the characteristics of any major city in the world, consisting of the same contrasts of poverty, traffic,...read more
Whimsical Watamu: Friends Anna and Greg discovered that Kitengela’s Croze family also owned a large rental home on the coast north of Mombasa in a beach town called Watamu. They invited a group of friends for a weekend at the Croze home in Watamu. After a brief...read more
Many of Kenya’s central and eastern rural poor have a few banana trees in their yards. But despite Kenya’s large overall banana crop, farmers are virtually unconnected to urban wholesalers, retailers, and consumers in cities like Nairobi, Kisumu or Mombasa.* These...read more
Across Africa and Latin America, TechnoServe works with farmers to sustainably improve the quality and quantity of the coffee they produce.* It helps link small-scale farmers to specialty coffee buyers who pay a premium for their high-quality beans. The higher incomes...read more
Kenyans drink a lot of milk. This tradition is probably derived from tribal culture—particularly the Maasai tribe--where cows represent wealth. However, the vast majority of dairy farmers own less than ten cows, each of which typically produces ten gallons of milk...read more
Wendy and Rick met with this participant who was definitely making progress in TechnoServe's Upscaling program. Starting in 2003 in his home, Joseph Njer’s growth-oriented yoghurt processing business by 2007 was on a US$170,000 run-rate for annual turnover. The...read more
A pharmacist and his wife successfully ran Neema Pharmacy and Chemists in Embu, a large central Kenyan city surrounded by farms. The wife had grown up in a nearby farming village and saw how difficult some of her neighbors’ lives were, particularly grandparents...read more