Thursday, February 9, 2017

Dreams DO come true!

Since starting the Rudisha Foundation in 2013 I had a dream to take the children on their first safari. One of the things travelling around and living in Africa has taught me the most is patience, the second is faith. 

With faith that my dream was achievable I wrote a blog explaining my wish for the Safari Adventure for Rudisha Foundation. Within two days I reached the goal and the planning for the safari trip began - the first time for the children and parents to see their own wildlife and visit one of their National Parks. 

I contacted a friend in Moshi, who runs his climbing business (Summit Odyssey), to see if he had a contact for a bus rental. I explained it was for Rudisha Foundation (charity) so our budget was not huge and asked if he could do us a "favour" and give a very reasonable price, which he did 😀 

The date was set for the 21st of January - we sent out the invites to all the children and their parents, guardians. Each child was to come with one parent or guardian so they too could join in on the fun! It was a first for all the adults as well, to visit one of the National Parks and see their beautiful wildlife. Martha met with Mushi, the owner of the bus company, and arranged all the details and told him our plans. He was very happy with what we were doing so he decided he would be the driver for this trip. 

Five days before the safari adventure I flew into Arusha from the Serengeti, then on to Moshi the following day. Shopping for supplies in Arusha and Moshi is not like shopping at home in Canada. 

It took a few days of walking around the many small shops (in 38℃ blazing 🌞 ) searching for the right price and number of items for all the supplies. Martha and I walked around the sokoni (marketplace) and maduka (shops) with our lists for food, snacks, drinks and gift bag supplies. Moshi is great for a bargain if you have the patience and can mind the heat - and I will take the heat over the bitter cold, any day 😎

Each child received a new toothbrush and toothpaste, pencils, clipboards with their safari list, paper and marker, candies, cookies, suckers and gum, popcorn and a safari animal stuffy - all in a recyclable shopping bag. 

I created safari animal checklists for the children and had it printed in colour on glossy paper which made a great keep sake of their fun adventure. Three pages of all the possible animals one may see on safari in Arusha National Park. 

We had everyone gather at Martha's house for 7am - which in "African time" I knew it meant we would be at least a hour behind. Here in Tanzania life moves pole pole (slowly) and there is no real rush - which is something I admire about the country and way of life. I find I'm able to be much more in the moment. 

Once the bus arrived all the supplies from Martha's porch were loaded to the top of the bus - the boxes of food, snacks, juice and lots of water. Never go on safari without lots of water! 

As the children anxiously got on the bus they received their goody bags. They still were not sure where we were going as our destination was a surprise. 

Two of the families live along the way from Moshi to Arusha so we arranged to pick them up on our way to the park. Once everyone was onboard we passed out the mandazi's (Swahili buns - similar to a donut) and mango juice, for a morning snack. 

Arriving at the park gate for Arusha National Park everyone got off the bus and Martha took photos by the big elephant statue as I went with the bus driver to register, pay and get our park permits, again, on Tanzania time, pole pole. 45 minutes later we were on our way. 

We hired a young guide who explained so much about the wildlife and eco-systems, the variety of jobs the children could consider in the tourism industry once they finish school. They were inspired. The eldest in the program is now telling me she wishes to be a safari guide one day. 

The children and parents asked many great questions and were so excited as we entered the park and saw buffalo and zebra - they started to tick off the animals on their checklist. Feelings of pure joy came over me as I watched the smiles on their faces and their interest in the animals. I am fortunate enough to have spent the last five years living on safari. It brought me to tears to be able to share this with all of them - their very first safari. 

We stopped for lunch at the picnic site overlooking the lake, where we enjoyed chicken salad sandwiches and Zanzibar pizzas, apples, carrots, mango juice - check out all of our photos to see more of our fun day!

We then moved along to Big Momella Lake where the children changed into their school uniforms so I could take the annual pictures for 

After pictures, we continued along on safari and saw more giraffes, warthog, hippo, waterbuck, bushbuck, duiker, blue monkeys and a variety of birds. 

Before leaving the park we stopped at the little museum where they had various animal skulls and birds on display. The children enjoyed this! 


Our last stop of the day was for a refreshing ice cream snack on the drive home.

Rather than posting all the photos from our safari adventure in this blog we have uploaded them onto the Rudisha Foundation website.

Thank you; Daphne Strowbridge, MarryAnn Bennett, Susan MacKinnon, Sebastian & Doreen Msuya, Leslie Moore, Norma & Tom Isotamm, Jenn & Chung Tang, Micheline Bissonnette-Kuras, Shawn & Pam Glover and Kathie Baer for your donations, which made this safari adventure possible. I am not sure we can ever find a way to thank you enough! The children and families also pass along MANY thank yous'. 

To learn how to make a difference in a child's life and support the Rudisha Foundation, please, contact Amanda or donate online.



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