Ladies Night -
Alan Feldstein - "Maji Ni Uhai" Water Is Life - Bringing Water To The Maasai
Alan Feldstein and Drill Crew Member
Member Alan Feldstein has been involved with Africa since he made his first trip in 2000.
As part of the mission of his company, Infinite Safari Adventures, he gives back to local communities who have been so helpful and friendly to him.
Four years ago he, his wife Diane and his "rafiki" (friend) Patrick Olepapatiti, whom he helped go to college,
started a project to raise money to bring clean fresh water to Patrick’s community near Kimana, Kenya.
Last September that project came to fruition with the drilling of a water well near Amboseli National Park and a community of about 500 Maasai.
Alan will describe how the project got started, the trials and tribulations of getting the well put in,
and the process in which a well in the middle of the bush gets dug.
Alan will also discuss the other giving back programs he is involved in and the impact they can have.
Craig B. Smith in Guam Click to View Complete Image
In 2011 Craig Smith gave a talk at the Adventurer’s Club titled
Stragglers: Prisoners of Conscience.
This was the story Masashi Itoh, a Japanese farm boy who enlisted in the Japanese army shortly after Pearl Harbor and came to Guam near the end of the war.
After the Japanese defeat, he remained hidden in the jungles of Guam, held captive by his own conscience and beliefs until 1960,
long after he knew the war had ended.
Japanese soldiers were so indoctrinated in the concepts of bushido—surrender is dishonorable—that thousands died needlessly.
Even more bizarre were the thousands who became stragglers—living dead—men who refused to surrender,
even when they knew the war was over, but who remained hidden for decades in forgotten jungles.
In an unusual chain of events, Craig found Itoh’s war time diary, had it translated, found him still alive and
returned his diary during a ceremony in Guam 40 years after the end of the war.
Itoh’s story, along with the stories of five other POWs, was published a year later by the Smithsonian Institution.
Now Smith returns to the Club to tell the stories of the other POWs.
Two of the prisoners were captured on the second day of the war and spent the entire war in prison camps.
The first was Garth Dunn, a 20-year old U.S. marine stationed on the island of Guam who was among the American military personnel taken prisoner by the Japanese
the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed.
He survived four different camps, brutal beatings, starvation, and work as a slave laborer in a Japanese steel mill.
His last camp was a hundred-plus miles from Hiroshima, and he told me how the atomic bomb saved his life and the lives of thousands of other POWs
held by the Japanese.
Attack on Pearl Harbor Japanese Minisub
Next is Ensign Kazuo Sakamaki, captain of one of five midget submarines that tried to penetrate Pearl Harbor during the attack.
All were lost, including their crews, with the exception of Sakamaki, the sole survivor.
He suffered the ignominy of being Japanese POW number 1, captured the day after Pearl Harbor.
Simon and Lydia Peters were civilians, European expatriates living in the Philippines.
Their story is typical of the thousands of non-combatants captured by the Japanese.
Their house and belongings were confiscated and they were separated and placed in different camps.
Eventually released by the Japanese, they reunited and fled to the jungle for a harrowing existence in a no-man’s land between Philippine guerilla raids and
Japanese counterattacks until finally, on the verge of death, they were rescued by American forces.
Theirs is an incredible story of love and survival.
Raising the Flag at Hirohata
In the months following Pearl Harbor, the United States imprisoned 110,000 American citizens living on the West Coast for no reason other than they
were of Japanese descent.
Ironically, German-Americans and Italian-Americans were spared this treatment, and even Japanese-Americans living in Hawaii were not imprisoned.
Mitsuye Takahashi was a U.S. citizen of Japanese descent living in Malibu, California.
Hers is another story of disruption, dislocation, loss of homes, jobs, and belongings, and love and renewal.
She symbolizes the plight of the Japanese-Americans who were unjustly imprisoned by America for the duration of the war.
Craig B. Smith was formerly president and chairman of DMJM-Holmes & Narver, an international architecture, engineering, and construction firm.
Holmes and Narver was involved in the design and construction of military facilities during and following World War II.
Notable projects included Camp Roberts, California, a 44,000 acre site where over 400,000 soldiers received basic training during WWII,
as well as facilities on Johnston Atoll, Enwetak, and Kwajalein.
The company provides operation and maintenance services to the Multi-National Force and Observers, a peacekeeping force in the Sinai desert between Egypt and Israel.
DMJM-H+N was the program manager for the Pentagon renovation, before and after 9/11.
Japanese WWII Tank
Military history is one of Smith’s interests and he has researched and written articles on the war in the Pacific,
where his special focus has been prisoners of war.
A frequent visitor to the eastern Sierra, he became interested in the history of the Manzanar relocation camp.
His interest in the topic was further stimulated by the experiences of friends and employees who were POWs or civilian hostages during war time,
up to and including the first war in Iraq, when a group of DMJM-H+N employees were captured by Iraqi forces during the Kuwait invasion.
His recent books include, "How the Great Pyramid Was Built," published by Smithsonian Institution Press (2004) and
Extreme Waves, published by the Joseph Henry Press of the National Academy of Sciences (2006).
Smith received his BS in Engineering from Stanford University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in engineering from UCLA.
His week staying with the nomadic reindeer herding Nenets in the Siberian, Yamal Peninsula in the dead of winter;
Visiting a Gerewol with the Wodaabe Nomads of the Nigerian, Sahel; and
Being one of the first hundred people to explore the largest cave in the world, Vietnam's Hang Son Doong.
Matthew is 38 years old and has been exploring the world since the age of 18.
He has traveled to over 150 countries.
His destinations usually entail visiting remote and difficult places to learn about indigenous cultures, explore unique landscapes and view endangered wildlife.
He has learned to balance his obsession with travel with having a full time job as an air pollution investigator.
Elisa Kotin Venturing Through the Jungles of Uganda and Rwanda
Elisa spent 5 weeks venturing through the jungles of Uganda and Rwanda and admits her surprise learning there was so much more each country had to offer.
Chimp trekking proved to be more challenging than finding Gorillas.
Elisa communicated directly with a Silverback and don’t miss her two very closer personal encounters with a couple of male black backs.
Rafting the Nile probably proved to be the closest call of her rafting adventures.
Come hear how an online photo shaped this whole trip as Elisa came face to face with Sipi Falls.
Share a touching moment as human and chimp found time to relax and groom one another.
Elisa recalls the exact second and moment that she took her favorite wildlife photo ever.
Safari’s in Uganda offered more than ever expected and she can’t wait to share these stories and more!
Uganda (Entebbe, Kampala, Murhison Falls, Fort Portal, Kibale National Park, Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, Semliki Valley, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Ishasha,
Bwindi Impenatrable Forest, Lake Bunyonyi, Kisoro, Jinja, Ngamba Island)
Rwanda (Kigali, Ruhengere, Volcanoes National Park, Karisoke Research Center)
Highlights – Gorilla Trekking both countries
Elisa Kotin works as an Event Planner but lives her passion as a solo adventure traveler.
Elisa’s first 2 month solo backpack trip through Europe 28 years ago quickly branched out to Asia, Africa, South America, South Pacific and Middle East.
This December Elisa will have visited her 81st country and 7th continent after a one month expedition trip to Easter Island and Antarctica.
Elisa is wholeheartedly an adventure traveler and mostly enjoys soaking up culture by experiencing daily life with locals,
singing and dancing with kids and learning about daily customs!
Elisa has tried it all: Sky-diving, bungy-jumping, aerobatic flying, zip lining, glacier climbing, white-water rafting, abseiling, zorbing, ostrich riding,
caged shark diving, and so much more!
She will try just about anything at least once… often twice!