Posted Jul 25, 2009 by 10 Comments

Since coming to Kenya, I’ve wondered often if the interns had any idea what they were getting themselves into. Did they really know before the trip that they’d suffer through illnesses, crazy foods and 10 hour hikes???

Well, regardless of whether they were truly prepared, I know one thing. I have been blown away at how well they’ve handled it all. My understanding of the word “trooper” has deepened significantly.  : )

With that in mind, I want to share a few quick updates about the team…


As I mentioned before, Scott has a bad case of pneumonia. What I didn’t mention was what happened the evening after writing that update.

Last Thursday night, I got a frantic call from Scott, who was having a lot of trouble breathing. We rushed him to Nairobi Hospital where he was admitted. Apparently, his pneumonia was a lot worse than previously diagnosed. There was a buildup of fluid around his right lung that was causing him to be very short of breath.

Thankfully, he returned to a stable condition quickly, but it was obvious after many tests that his illness would not be clearing up any time soon. After a week in the hospital, his doctors here and in the States agreed that it was going to take at least two more weeks for him to fully recover.

Scott the night we admitted him to Nairobi Hospital.  Not exactly in the BEST of health...

Scott the night we admitted him to Nairobi Hospital. Not exactly in the BEST of health...

Two weeks? That meant he was going to miss our trip to Mombasa and end up spending a total of three weeks in a hospital thousands of miles away from his family. On top of that, we’re leaving Kenya in two weeks anyway, so the entire rest of his trip would be spent in the hospital!

After some discussion on both sides of the pond, the best solution seemed apparent. Scott needed to fly home and recover with his family.

Yesterday he did just that. As of 2pm Indiana time yesterday, Scott was safely back in Indianapolis.

Now, while he was still at the hospital here in Nairobi, Scott underwent a procedure to remove the fluid buildup around his right lung.  To boys like Scott and I, the whole thing was totally awesome.  So awesome, in fact, that Scott insisted on me posting this video of him immediately after the procedure:

It may have been a terrible illness, but at least Scott can now say that he’s had an Indian doctor remove 200ml (more than 25 syringe fulls!) of rust colored fluid from his lung in Kenya! That’s got to count for something…

It’ll be a great story to tell his classmates when he returns to American University in a month.

Get well soon, Scott!


Christine, teaching her art therapy class in Kibera.  All smiles now that her infection is gone!

Christine, teaching her art therapy class in Kibera. All smiles now that her infection is gone!

Despite a really bad throat  infection towards the beginning of her time in Kenya, Christine has been having a fantastic experience. Even after picking up some sort of stomach amoeba last week, she is still in good spirits! It’s great to see her eyes light up when talking about the work of Zana Africa.

Side note. Her amoeba brings the count of our team’s specific illnesses to five. I should seriously consider writing a massive disclaimer on the internships page!

Anyway, back to Christine. A few weeks ago she received word that she had been accepted for a Resident Assistant position with Gordon College’s study abroad program in Orvieto, Italy!

In a few months she’ll be basking in the Italian sun, using her people skills to develop college-age students emotionally and spiritually, undoubtedly eating untold amounts of incredible Italian food in the process.

Gee. Rough life, Christine! Have fun!!!


Jessica at the Karura Medical Camp.  Can't wait to see what else she experiences!

Jessica at the Karura Medical Camp. Can't wait to see what else she experiences!

As you can see in her author profile, Jessica is passionate about peace. With a degree in History from the University of Evansville, she gets inordinately worked up about reconciliation, and is fired up about what is happening at Karura Chapel.

That is why she has decided to stay.

Yes. You heard me right. Jessica is staying in Kenya.

Don’t worry. She was thinking about this even before the trip. And yes, her parents know. But because of her passion for exploring the roots of the post-election violence and subsequent reconciliation efforts in Kenya, she feels strongly called to stay in Nairobi until the end of November.

But here’s the best part… My board of directors and I are proud to announce that Jessica will be staying on as World Next Door’s first “part-time” journalist! Because of her obvious knack for writing, research and cultural immersion, we are excited to welcome her to the team…

Good luck, Jessica! We can’t wait to see what you’ll learn!

World Next Door…

So where does World Next Door go from here? Good question!

Over the next few weeks, we will continue to post articles from Kenya. There is plenty of stuff we have still yet to unpack and there will definitely be some great photo galleries from Mombasa.

Kibera is just the beginning for World Next Door...

Kibera is just the beginning for World Next Door...

Additionally, each of the interns owes me a retrospective article about their experience. I’m looking forward to those… I have a feeling they’re going to be amazing!

After we return, our posts will become a little more infrequent (closer to one or two a week) as we gear up for the fall… tweaks to the website, future trip preparation and a brand new “Share Your Story” section which will allow you to post articles on our site (more details to come)!

After that, it’s on to new assignments!

Urban Indianapolis, Haiti, Panama, Vancouver, South Africa, Toronto, China, New York City… They’re all in the works.

I don’t know about you, but my heart beats faster just thinking about it…


Finally, I want to share a funny realization I had the other day. Scott is already home. Jessica is staying in Kenya. Christine is returning straight from the Detroit airport to her home in Maryland. Although I left Indianapolis International Airport with three interns in tow, I’ll be returning all by myself!

Wow. Leave with three, come back with none. That’s not a very good record, is it?

Oh well… Maybe next time!

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About the Author: Barry is the founder and Executive Director of World Next Door. A storyteller, traveller and giant nerd, he lives to compel suburban Americans to get engaged with social justice and find their place in God's kingdom revolution. His ultimate dream is to adopt a pet monkey named Kevin.

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  1. Curtis Honeycutt said... 


    July 25th, 2009 at 10:10 am  

    Christine’s going to Italy? Wow. That sounds like a pretty sweet gig.

    I didn’t realize Scott’s fluid was rust colored. That’s pretty gross. I hope he’s starting to rest and recover back home.

    Jess will do a fantastic job embedded in Kenya! I’m excited that she enjoyed her summer enough to stay.

  2. Aaron said... 


    July 25th, 2009 at 10:59 am  

    You could not have had a better three interns to start. A high bar has been set for all future interns. However…Leave with 3, return with one. Not good Barry. Not good at all.

  3. Brad Ruggles said... 


    July 25th, 2009 at 12:54 pm  

    Man Barry, you picked some pretty amazing interns for your first batch! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all they’ve written and hearing their stories of life change.

    So sorry to hear that Scott’s condition was bad enough that it required him to come home. But I suppose if you’re going to sit in a hospital recovering it’s better to do it here at home with family and friends.

    And yeah, I echo what Aaron said…leave with 3 interns but return with 1? Hmmm…. 😉

  4. Amy Sorrells said... 


    July 25th, 2009 at 7:16 pm  

    The cool part was when the needle was rubbing against his ribs . . . wow. Scott’s condition had this nurse in a near panic until you said he’s back in the states. Smart move. So heartbroken it happened, but glad he’s back. That’s major stuff. In fact, each of you is “major stuff” with “the right stuff” and I am honored and grateful to have been taking this journey with you, albeit virtually. Amazing, though, how the virtual can so tangibly wrap around my heart through the beauty and passion of all your words, photos and faces. Lifting you up and covering you in prayer in these final days of this stretch of the journey. Traveling mercies to you all!!!

  5. eness said... 


    July 25th, 2009 at 10:18 pm  

    I don’t think you should feel too bad about coming back alone, Barry. All three of those amazing interns are about to go to three different parts of our world and share their experiences. I think in one trip you’ve managed to pretty much define what WND is all about. That is awesome. I’m proud of you, friend. Great job.

  6. Amy Osgood said... 


    July 26th, 2009 at 7:46 pm  

    I agree w/ Eness. If they all came back the same, WND would have been ineffective. You have led them very well!

  7. Rob Yonan said... 


    July 27th, 2009 at 5:54 pm  

    Let’s see, leave with three, come back with none – but all (including you) are more experienced kingdom proclaimers. Yep, I’d say “they shoot, they score!”.

  8. jim meacham said... 


    July 27th, 2009 at 10:43 pm  

    It has been a pleasure to follow your journey here on WND. Four of you left to serve, none of you returns the same. “God calls us out of the life we have known and calls us to a life we have never imagined.” (Erwin McManus, Soul Cravings destiny, entry #7). You will recall these days for ever…

  9. Gaciru said... 


    July 30th, 2009 at 4:47 am  

    Barikiwa Barry natumaini utarudi tena! Wewe simugeni wewe ni mwana wa kenya!

  10. Breanna Sipple said... 


    February 16th, 2011 at 4:53 pm  

    I really enjoyed reading about the interns and how things wrapped up.

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