Hi folks,Thanks so much for dropping by. I'm up to something good, and I hope you'll join me - you'll have the chance to put a bright smile on a child's face - just like the one in the photo above.
Sounds tempting, doesn't it? So often we wonder if a little bit of cash here and there can actually make a difference, and I can promise you from first hand experience, it does.
I've been to Africa a few times. What I've seen isn't quite the same Africa so often portrayed on those commercials that leave you feeling guilty and uncomfortable, children hungry and full of despair. Instead, I've seen hope. I've dropped off notebooks and pencils at a school where the children explained their wishes to be a doctor, a pilot. I've dropped off groceries to a village where women will take your hand and walk with you, asking how your family is. I've left a bikes and soccer balls at an orphanage where I never met the children - the caretakers knew that kids aren't meant to be put on display. I've helped students studying for their exams, baffled by the difference between being in something, and being inside something. I admit, I couldn't give them a clear answer.
This trip, I'll be visiting three areas - in Zimbabwe I'll be hanging out at a Village of Hope, where I'll help build a home for a group of orphans. Then I'll head across the country to see a village supported by World Vision - I'll be their first Canadian guest! Afterwards, I'll be popping up to Ethiopia to see first-hand the good work UNICEF is doing - with a focus on education, health, and clean water.
As a travel writer, my first wish is to convey that message of hope. But if I can bring along a generous gift to each of these organizations, that would simply fill up my heart. This isn't a hand out, its a hand up. Given the basics, given a chance, these children might thrive. They might recall this kindness and pass it along when they have an opportunity.
Once in Zanzibar, a friend and I walked along with two little girls. We giggled and held hands and had no idea what we were saying to each other. It was brilliant. One of the girls had a coconut shell holding a few peanuts. Without hesitation, she shared these nuts with my friend. The little girl I walked with didn't have any nuts. Instead, she took the nut she'd been savoring in her mouth and handed to me. She had almost nothing, and offered it without thinking twice.
Let her generosity be an inspiration to you.
The details: My flights are already covered, thanks to the kindness of Ethiopian Airlines. Anything fun that happens will be paid for by me. Your donation will delivered right to Africa - as either cash, or materials. My ultimate goal is to raise $2000 - 2500, but I'm off to a modest start on this web page, as I'm hatching plans for other fundraising. Upon my return, I will send you a newsletter sharing how your kindness made a difference. If by some turn of events I am unable to go, I will make a direct donation to each of these organizations with funds raised.
I am oh so grateful for your support. Whether it's what you'd spend on a fancy coffee, or for a lovely dinner out, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.