Lots went into planning to go on our trip to Hekima Place in Karen, Kenya. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit obsessive when it comes to my to-do list, so planning went very smoothly. First, it was time to renew my passport. Even though it was months in advance, I still did the expedited service. No joke, I got my passport in ONE WEEK! Next came booking our flights. There were more options than I expected! We were able to get flights for about $2500 round trip. We will be flying coach/economy, but I still haven't told Joe yet! In order to make sure we could volunteer and stay with the girls at Hekima, we needed to fill out the volunteer application, do criminal background checks and get Act 51 clearance. If you're planning on visiting Hekima (or any other reputable children's organization), make sure you allot yourself at least a month to complete these checks. The background check can be completed online, but the Act 51 clearance has to be sent to Harrisburg for processing. The last item on the trip preparation list was vaccinations and malaria meds. Even though we are going to Kenya in the cool season, I figure better safe than sorry so my dad prescribed anti-malarials for Joe and I. We will start taking them a day or two before we arrive in Kenya. I also went on the website for Allegheny County Department of Health and submitted our travel plans. Within a day, we received a list of recommended vaccines. We brought our list to the walk-in immunization clinic and were done in about an hour and a half (including a little waiting). Insurance doesn't cover the vaccines, so make sure you stick aside a little loot to cover the cost - it was about $350. It's been a while since I got that many shots!!!