Bobbie was born in Portland Maine. While young her family traveled extensively. She attended Goucher College where she majored in child development. She married and raised two sons. Her husband transferred to many locations and after 26 years, Bobbie got a divorce.
At the time of the divorce Bobbie was living in California and worked there until she was laid off. At the same time, her son was pursuing his Ph.D. in the University of Boulder and had recently had a child with severe epilepsy. Bobbie moved to Colorado to help care for him. While there, she took classes at the university to learn the care of special needs children. Upon graduation the following year her son started a teaching position at UC Riverside and the family moved. This move put Bobbie is a tailspin and needed to decide what next.
The need to continue to make a difference, Bobbie decided she wanted to work in Kenya. (Her children thought she was crazy!) At the age of 51 in 1991, she applied to Visions in Action and moved to Nairobi. With Visions in Action she visited many development projects throughout Kenya, while taking Swahili lessons. At the end of the touring and language lessons she did an internship with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Bobbie was put in charge of managing a micro credit program for refugees in the Nairobi area. Kenya was hosting 14,000 refugees at the beginning of 1991. Then the Somali war broke out creating a crisis with as many as five thousand refugees pouring into Kenya from Somalia. This put a strain on UNHCR and the Kenyan government to locate property to build camps to accommodate the refugees. In October Bobbie volunteered to be part of a registration team as the camp in Dadaab was being built. Registration occurred at all hours of the day and night as the refugees arrived by the truck loads from temporary camps along the Kenyan/Somali border. Bobbie returned to work with another registration team in March 1992 where the camp had grown from 5,000 to 30,000 refugees. More permanent structures had been build. Bobbie was introduced to CARE while in the camp as CARE provided all of the food and supplies for the camp. The camp is still in existence today and is the largest refugee camp in the world. Bobbie returned to the US after her internship was finished.
In 1995, Bobbie went to work for Habitat for Humanity as the first in country Resource Development Officer in Zambia. In addition to raising funds to build 750 Habitat houses each year, she taught the Zambia staff how to raise fund after she was gone. In addition she hosted many camp builds which included Embassy wives and international school children to help build VIP pit latrines, make bricks and roof tiles. Bobbie also invited other NGO's to participate in the building process and had work days where the houses were being built the rural areas. She was able to raise enough money for six new bore holes (water supply) that would save 20,000 lives. As a fund raising project, Bobbie got permission from the National Zambian Football (soccer) team to host a clinic for the Zambian children. This event raised over US$2,000, which was considerable as each house cost US$750.00.
In 1999 Bobbie was part of a management team with Relief International at the Qatrom Refugee Camp in Albania during the Kosovo Crisis. She asked CARE International to host a refugee family from the Qatrom Refugee Camp. After the conflict ended, she worked in post-war Kosovo and also monitored the first parliamentary and presidential elections in Kosovo, as well as the elections in Bosnia and Ukraine, during the Orange Revolution.
In 2004, she went to the CARE National Convention in Washington DC. Bobbie has been a supporter of CARE since 1997.
She continues to be very involved and active and we will continue to update her story in the future! We can't wait to hear about her new adventures!