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Maquoketa students back home after being stranded in Africa

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A group of two dozen Maquoketa students and their chaperones are finally home after being stranded in Africa because of an airport fire.

The high school students were working on a service project with a group called Club Hope. They were on their way home Wednesday, August 7, 2013 from Kenya when the Nairobi Airport caught on fire.

Plans were made on Friday, August 9 to get the group on a flight home, getting them back in the U.S. on Sunday. They arrived at the Chicago airport on Sunday. From there, the group took a bus back to Maquoketa High School.

The students spent a week in Kenya working to build a boarding school for girls. They arrived on Thursday, August 1 and were scheduled to return on Wednesday, August 7, when the massive airport fire delayed their flight.The group kept themselves occupied with organized activities while waiting for a flight home,

“As things have unfolded, I think it’s safe to say we’ve made the best of a bad situation,” said Maquoketa Superintendent, Kim Huckstadt. “We are looking forward to see our families reunited and here this evening that’s going to be fun to sit back and watch that happen.”

Students and chaperones were reunited with their families shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday.

"It was wonderful, it was great to get to see them," said mother Carol Miller.
"I was just so happy, tears were instant," said her daughter, Cassie Miller.

A large crowd of parents, friends, children, gathered at Maquoketa High School to greet the 16 students and 10 chaperones as they returned home.

Many involved said the trip was worth the delay.

"Life changing experience. Ya know everything we take a lot of things for granted here and so it just made me realize how thankful I am for my family, water, all of our food, everything," said Cassie Miller.