Wha’s Happ’nin’

Helen and Steve Simon pose with Maasai warriors during their recent African safari. Photo Courtesy of Steve and Helen Simon

St. John Residents Return from Trip of a Lifetime

by Sis Frank

When Cristina Kessler brought Kakuta to St. John several years ago, we adopted him as our own Maasai warrior, raising funds for his village in Kenya. I don’t believe that many of us knew about Maasailand before Kakuta’s visits, but we became enthralled with their way of life. Our schoolchildren were fascinated and looked forward to his yearly visits (he will speak again at the St. John School of the Arts in February 2008).

Just this past week, Steve and Helen Simon, Missie Hensel, Kate Campbell and Michael and Lori Weinman returned from an exciting safari tour of Kenya, Africa. They were overwhelmed by the beauty of the country and the friendliness of the Maasai people.

Their lives center around devotion to family, animals and conservation — a very full existence. They speak five languages and their gardens are organic.
We know that schools are being constructed with donations from the Maasai Association which St. Johnians contribute to (Kakuta is the executive director).
Our local Rotary Club is planning to dig another well for the Merrueshi School, with some assistance from National Rotary.

Missie Hensel was fascinated by a family of elephants who were taking a swim in their favorite water hole. The mother made the babies behave — they all had fun squirting each other while soaking and swimming, but no misbehavior was allowed.

Our own Jazz Man, Steve Simon, joined a quartet of local jazz musicians in a fundraising concert to raise money for a dialysis machine! When he said he had forgotten his clarinet, they sent a driver to Nairobi — three hours each way — to borrow an instrument from the high school. Steve said that if you closed your eyes, you would think that the Jazz Islanders had flown in from St. John!

A rather interesting statistic among love-making lions — it only takes three seconds! I didn’t ask who had the stopwatch!
As you can imagine, it was an unforgettable safari.

Just Like Old Times
We used to dance at La Tapa a few years back — just hearing Margo Diaz and Rich Greengold’s Sambacombo brought back memories of the good ol’ days! Margo was visiting for a few days — her voice was as beautiful as ever, backed by Rich, Eddie Bruce and Cliff Finch. It will only be three years until she can move back permanently — friends and family can’t wait — especially Justin and Pat!

Free Flu Shots a Big Success
Thanks to Sally Brown and her highly-organized AARP clinicians, feet, eyes, blood pressure and blood sugar were checked, along with flu and pneumonia shots for over 200 last week. Thank you for this community service!

Fenway Park Moves to Marketplace
Did you see the huge photograph that covered the whole corner window of the third floor office? A great shot of Fenway Park, complete with a Red Sox t-shirt and other baseball mementoes. Obviously, we know who these Bostonians are rooting for!

Congratulations to Cross Country Winners
Mimi Roller and Levi Liburd made us all proud of their first place finishes at UVI! I know how hard Levi trains just by watching Jeremy Zuber, his coach, as he drives him faster and faster on the treadmill at Gym in Paradise. I’m exhausted as he pushes up his speed! Mimi is a joy to watch as she races on land or sea!