Now is my moment to make an impact. I want to render a real difference in the world. So, I asked myself these questions: “How do I make a difference?” “What can I do?” Where can I do something truly special?” “How can I combine the things I love and change lives?” I would love to travel abroad again. I would love to work with animals or children or senior citizens. I would love to make an impact on the environment. I’m interested in helping people. I’m entranced with forestry, and YES at 54, I even learned to use a chainsaw to trim some trees. I’m fascinated with scuba diving and dolphins and marine life. I’m engrossed with chimpanzees, lions and tigers, elephants, camels, and giraffes. My first job I ever dreamed about (after I dreamed of being a nun…I was 9 years old) was working with animals as a zookeeper. So my search was launched…..
And that is how I discovered Voluntourism or a form of tourism where travelers participate in voluntary work, typically for a charity. Bingo! And here it stood right in front of me! Here is an opportunity to visit exotic lands AND have an impact. It’s an opportunity maybe to work with people in need or exotic animals while making a difference. But could I actually do this?
Since I want to travel abroad, I began looking at hundreds of volunteer opportunities all over the world. I even participated in a webinar about teaching English overseas. I just knew that there was absolutely an opportunity out there for me. There was one with my name on it. An opportunity I would thoroughly love; something I’ve always dreamed of doing! I even considered three month, six month, and one year opportunities. Could I leave my life and go abroad for an entire year? What about my mortgage, my job, my other obligations? How could I make a difference in a faraway land and still sustain my household?
And that’s when it happened! It all came together. An opportunity with ‘ME’ written all over it! I discovered African Impact and a place called Chimpfunshi, a Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Orphan Care in the African wilderness of northern Zambia. WOW! “Chimpfunshi gives refuge to over 120 chimps rescued from the bush meat trade, circuses, zoos, and bars. African Impact created this volunteer project to help care for and conserve these rescued chimps. It is one of the few places on earth that rescued chimpanzees can live out their lives in safety.” So this was it; my search was over. Not only would I journey to Africa, a place I’ve always wanted to visit, but I would also fulfill a life-long dream of working with chimpanzees. I would get the opportunity to interact on a personal level while experiencing true Zambian culture in the heart of Africa.
The next question was to figure out how long. African Impact offer tours from two weeks to twelve weeks. Two weeks just doesn’t seem long enough, but let’s be realistic; twelve weeks is a long time to be absent from my daily responsibilities, not to mention the amount of money I would have to procure in order to go away for a prolonged period of time. I decided that four weeks is perfect! I’m confident that I can raise enough money for my trip and to maintain my household for only a month. And that gives me time to get to know the chimpanzees for which I will be caring. There is one chimp in Zambia or maybe the whole orphanage whose lives I can and will impact. And I am so ready….I AM READY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!
I would love to invite everyone on this journey with me. By helping me to achieve my dreams and making this a reality through your generous contributions, I pledge to personally share every step of my adventure with each and every one of you. Any amount you are able to contribute would be greatly appreciated! (But for anyone who contributes $50.00 or more, I will send you a digital discount travel card for $2000.00. It can be used for airlines, cruises, hotels, resorts, rental cars, and more!) Just email me at [email redacted], so I can send it to you. AND anything I raise above what I need for the trip, I will donate to Chimfunshi! Let’s make a difference together!!!
“Don’t give TO me, give THROUGH me.”