This year has been fun. I’ve had the privilege to travel extensively with 4 of my grandchildren, and make short trips with 4 others.
In the Spring, a grandson James, traveled with a friend and I to the Navajo Reservation. There we worked on a couple of playground projects and did a little sightseeing in the northern part of the reservation. After a couple of days, my son and his 2 daughters–Alexandra and Madeline–joined us. As a school project, James wrote a book about his Navajo experiences for his 3rd-grade class. In the early summer, we traveled back to reservation, this time with another grandchild: Rees.
This summer, I traveled to Washington DC to attend the wedding of my niece and visit my son and his family. I traveled with James. We enjoyed the beach, Lincoln and Jefferson Monuments, Washington Zoo, and natural history museum. My grandson is fascinated with zoos and museums. His brain soaks in vast amounts of information. He is particularly fascinated with the wide variety of animals in the world. I need to take him to the Galapagos Islands. For much of the trip, we were joined by my Washington DC grandchildren.
Later in the summer, two of my granddaughters–Alexandra and Evelyn (and one parent each) along with my daughter–traveled to southern Uganda with me. I’ve wanted by grandchildren to understand that life in Utah and Washington DC is not the norm for the majority of people on earth. While in Africa, we installed playground equipment at remote schools: in the Masaka area; adjacent to Lake Bunyonyi; and in the Rwenzori Mountains (aka Mountains of the Moon). Uganda doesn’t get a lot of tourists, so for almost all of the trip it was just us and the locals. It turned out to be an immersive experience. We did take time to visit two of Uganda’s animal parks.
In October, James and I attended the BYU/MSU football game in Michigan. In East Lansing, we met up with my brother and his wife, and my son and his family (the ones who live in Washington DC). Before the football game, we met with the head of the Biochemistry Department at MSU. Over 50 years ago, my father was instrumental in starting the department and getting the biochem building constructed. The department head praised the developmental work of my father and his colleagues. I hope some of it was heard by my grandchildren.
Unfortunately, the MSU football team did play well, and BYU won handily. On the Monday and Tuesday after the game, James and I traveled to Detroit. James wanted to visit the Detroit Zoo and the Henry Ford Museum. For the zoo, he had prepared a list of 29 animals that he wanted to see. We managed to find 20 of them. We also visited the Motown Museum. Somewhat ironically, James said of the three attractions, he preferred the Henry Ford Museum.
Later in October, Rees and I traveled to Peru. There we visited Inca ruins, including Machu Picchu, and installed playground equipment at 5 different pre- and primary schools. We were hosted by a Quechua family that fabricated the playground equipment and provided guide service for the Inca sites. They were wonderful hosts. It was a great 2 weeks. When I asked Rees what he enjoyed most, he replied spending time with Quechua family.
Traveling with the grandchildren is great fun; it has given me the chance to know each one better.