Thunder forward Nick Collison, along with NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo and Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute is in Kenya representing the NBA as part of a UNICEF field trip. Collison has filed this travelogue for NBA.com.
Entry 1: Making my way to Kenya
I previously attended Basketball without Borders in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2008, so this marks my second trip to Africa. I had a great experience and wanted to return, so when I was approached by the NBA to come to Kenya as part of a UNICEF field trip followed by another BWB in Johannesburg, I jumped at the opportunity.
Friday morning I left New York on a flight to Johannesburg then on to Nairobi. The total travel time was over 20 hours. After relaxing Saturday we had a day to spend in Nairobi. A small group of us toured Kibera which is one of the largest slums in the world, located in the middle of Nairobi. Walking through Kibera was a powerful experience. The living conditions are awful. Children are playing barefoot in the dirt roads among the sewage and garbage. Like many other parts of Africa, HIV and AIDS is a major problem. Families have taken in orphans into their already overcrowded homes. I visited a similar neighborhood in South Africa in 2008. Both times I came away feeling sad for the people, but also inspired by them. Despite their struggles, life goes on. I met people who are working to help others through churches and small health clinics. The children were playing with smiles on their faces. It is a great experience to see how other people in different parts of the world live. It gives perspective and appreciation for what is important in life.
The journey continues today as I am on a plane to Kakuma. I am part of a UNICEF team going to visit a refugee camp that is the home of over 100,000 refugees displaced by conflict or famine. I will fill you in on what comes next…