Kimmy has been to Africa before with Marafiki, and many a week when we dated she would tell me that her experience in Tanzania changed her life, and gave her a whole new perspective on life. She would tell it with such conviction and such passion, and I knew it was something that I wanted to do with her someday, even before we were engaged. She said that she almost didn't go at first, because it was so costly, but she is so glad she made up her mind to go. When you go to Africa, you set out to make a difference; but in the end, Africa makes you different. That's what happened to Kimmy, and I saw it in her through her kind and giving actions. Her heart was changed, and it gave her strength to do more good.
I have had fewer opportunities to serve than Kimmy. I organized a food drive and benefit concert to obtain my Eagle scout award about seven years ago, and I gave two years of my life as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as she also did, but I never had been committed or given opportunity to go on a volunteer trip to give my time and talents for a cause like this. The people of Tanzania are a good people, who desire success and happiness in life, but they lack the expertise and education that we are so privileged and blessed to have in this country. This program, Marafiki Africa, is there to help bridge the gap, to build relationships, to build up people's businesses and homes and enterprises in the mother continent. That's a cause we want to get into.
Kimmy and I aren't rich; we're both quite poor students at our university, BYU, and we try to work to pay for things ourselves. However, this trip doesn't come cheap. Combined for the two of us, the program costs a considerable amount, which is the goal we're raising, not counting plane tickets, to make sure we can make it to Africa. Feel free to donate, or support or share this, in whatever way you like. I realize a lot of you reading this are our friends, and I know many of you are equally as monetarily challenged as ourselves. I know, I get a bit wordy sometimes... Money is a good way to help us, but if you haven't any to spare, but want to help, then there are many other ways that you can help us, like sharing this on Facebook or online or elsewhere, to help get the word out, that maybe others might help us out if they feel so inclined. Okay, I'll stop being wordy...
In short, Kimmy and I want to make a difference, and the two weeks we spend in Africa may be small, and they may change us more than we can make a change, but it will be one worth doing. "Let us then be up and doing, with a heart for any fate." - A famous quote taught to me by my choral teacher, Rosalind Hall, who directs the Men's Chorus at BYU. "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God." - Mosiah 2:17 in the Book of Mormon
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