The trip is called the make a difference but we are the ones that come home different!
Africa has embraced a piece of my heart for a long time now and is a second home. It is one of the most warm and heart centered places I have ever been. This trip marked my 6th time to Africa and I am already excited to go back next May. Our most recent trips have been organized by Safari Kay Trotman, owner of Destined to Travel.
We started our journey in Arusha at the Leaders of Tomorrow Children’s Home located at the United african alliance community center. It is Run by Pete and Charlotte O’neil along with the help of the fabulous Mwajabu. There are 21 brilliant children living here. The home runs completely on donations so when we come we bring two 50 lb bags of clothing, medical supplies, school supplies, etc. Many people donated kids clothing for us to bring. A special shout out to the ladies of Fit Chick Express and Erika Andreson for their donations We also do a special surprise for them each year. In the past it has been tablets and solar power (Michael Coleman was the man behind those). This year we got the kids all new school shoes and socks. They have to wear uniforms and specific shoes and socks and they have to walk quite a ways to school so shoes that fit are important. Everything was purchased from the market in Arusha so that it would support the local economy as well. Mwajabu and three of the kids(Elia, Jackie and Halima) helped us pick out the right sizes and styles for each of the kids.
The donations are just a small piece of what this visit is all about. Each person that comes on the Make a Difference brings something to share with the kids. This year it was filled learning about the power of intention, how to play chess, rolfing sessions and CPR training. The first group talked with them about what they want to be when they grow up and how important it is to go after your dreams. Later they took that a step further and made intention boards with what they wanted their life to be like. It was inspiring.
Denise(retired police officer) and Thomas(retired fireman) gave the kids one of the most powerful skills yet. They taught the kids(and anyone at the community center that wanted to learn) how to do CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. They started with doing burpees to get their heart rate up so that it would be easier to feel their pulse. After doing a demo for the group each of the kids got to learn all the steps themselves and try them out as if it was a real life situation. They were rock stars! Each one did a fantastic job. It was so empowering for the kids because it showed them that even if they are small they can help save a life.
The kids had seen Queen of Katwe and were inspired to learn how to play chess so My husband, Carmelo, taught the kids chess. They picked it up so quickly so using the tablets the kids had gotten the previous year we had a mini tournament. Four of the boys reigned and were super proud of their skills.
I love doing bodywork with the kids and so when I get to visit I see as many people as I can in the time that we are there. The kids know what I do now so when I come they are all excited to do a session. It is so much fun to see them get super relaxed and feel how their body can move better. In addition to working with the kids I was able to work with staff at the community center, participants on the trip, and friends in Tanzania. It was a beautiful experience.
In addition to these activities we had the opportunity to visit a sustainable farm run by a man named Erik who moved to Tanzania from the states after college. He has taken a piece of land that barely anything was growing on it and turned it into a highly producing paradise. It is also a winery so the kids got to learn about that process as well as try homemade goat’s cheese (made from milk from the neighbors goats). It is so important to know where our food comes from. What a great learning opportunity. On the way to the farm was incredibly fun because it was filled with all of us singing and playing games!
Our time with them ended way too soon. It was incredibly hard to leave the kids to head out on the next part of our trip. I woke up early the next day to give them all a big hug before they headed to school.
The next part of the trip was about being in nature and spending time with friends. We traveled all over Tanzania but stayed mostly in the northern regions. For Safari we visited Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. Kay planned an amazing itinerary and Paul and Sam were amazing. They are so knowledgeable about the whole ecosystem. I could describe it in detail but pictures will do that much better than my words can express.
Deep gratitude to Safari Kay for an amazing experience!
Safari Kay Trotman
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