Eastern senior basketball point guard Joe Ives recently returned from traveling 7,000 miles from his home in Avon to Nairobi, Kenya. Brian Murphy, CEO and Founder of Travelbond, asked Ives to accompany him and four other local Division III basketball players on the trip. The experience is one Ives will never forget.
Travelbond is a non-profit organization founded this past April and its mission is "to create, provide, and sustain opportunities and good health for the women and children of poverty or disaster areas both locally and globally." The organization was founded so that student-athletes and volunteers could embrace the idea of giving back to communities in need around the world.
In addition to staying in Nairobi -- the largest city and capital of Kenya -- the Travelbond team made stops at Lake Nakuru, Sagam and Kolego. The group visited local orphanages in Nairobi, in an effort to give back to the community. Each afternoon, Travelbond ran basketball camps for two high schools and two colleges. At night, it would scrimmage with the players who they had trained earlier in the day.
Ives characterized Kenyan youth as "good, very athletic and extremely tall." Upper Hill High School, the host site of the camp, was the best team that Travelbond faced, according to Ives. A six-foot point guard majoring in sociology, Ives observed after returning home that "we realize how lucky we have it over here. Complaining is something that just shouldn't be done." He said Americans complain over simple things like their phone not working or not being able to get into a movie, but they don't face problems like people who live in parts of Kenya. "Some people there don't have food to eat or running water to use. In the orphanages, the young kids were sleeping three to a bed on the metal bedsprings. They didn't even have a mattress or blanket to sleep on. "Just to be able to help out over there was really special," Ives exclaimed.