Friday, April 30, 2010


People who dream when they sleep at night know of a special kind of happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstasy, and ease of heart, that are like honey on the tongue. They also know that the real glory of dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom....

The pleasure of the true dreamer does not lie in the substance of the dream, but in this: that there things happen without any interference from his side, and altogether outside his control. Great landscapes create themselves, long splendid views, rich and delicate colours, roads, houses, which he has never seen or heard of...

- Isak Dinesen (author, Out of Africa)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Just in Case

The pile of paperwork is due to Free the Children by Friday ... indemnity forms, waivers. health forms, dietary restrictions, and proof of travel insurance. Believe me when I tell you that it is easier to get a divorce. The hardest part of this segment is gathering up all of the documentation that is required ... where did I put Darcy's immunization record? -  the passports, the electronic flights itinerary, and the beat goes on ... I have to stop putting things in "safe places" - or should I say, I have to start remembering.

The missing piece is the travel insurance. As someone who had done her share of travelling, I am somewhat embarassed to admit that I have rarely bought insurance. So I was shocked to discover that it is going to cost $525 for both Darcy and I to get the premium level of health and travel insurance required by FTC.

Grumbling aside,  I suppose it is for the best... just in case.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Answering the Call

Kidlet here -  or I guess on this blog, I can just be Darcy.

It's hard to believe Africa, which has been calling to me for so long, is finally within reach. I don't know when my passion for change started within me; I just know I always feel it. I always have that feeling that encourages me to make a difference, to find ways to help and to recognize that while I have the ability to help I also have the responsibility to. It's not just about helping either it's about learning. Traveling around the word has been the best classroom and to think I've only scratched the surface.

Two summers ago I attended the Free the Children Leadership Academy. That's when I found absolute clarity. I realized then exactly what I needed to be doing and where I was headed. I met people that within a single week changed my life. Many of these friends I still keep in touch with frequently. Some have drifted farther apart but what I am sure of is that our paths will cross again. That's the amazing thing when you connect with someone beyond the artificial small talk, when you truly get to know someone's insides, you know that you are connected for life.

My Mum taught me something very special about people and spirituality. See, if you asked me, I would say I'm not a religious person though I have great admiration for those who have been able to make religion a positive outlet in their life. Mum has taught me the difference between religion and spirituality and where they meet. I have trouble wrapping my head around "God", you see. I have way too many questions; it just seems all too big. I find the greatest messages I've ever received are through people. Mum told me to look at these people as an "angel" of sorts and take their messages as a lesson. The more you are open to seeing the messages the more you will gain. I'm in the process of figuring out my path and am on a constant journey of learning, teaching, figuring myself out and most importantly figuring out who I want to be because those things are in my hands. And though I stray here and there and make mistakes, I feel ready for whatever comes my way.

Around my wrist I wear a single piece of string. To me this represents the things I am most passionate about. The string stands for my beliefs, for issues I am passionate about and for rights I am willing to fight for. I believe education is the greatest gift, I believe in equality for all people because in my mind we are all one human race. Many of my FTC friends wear a string which has a meaning important to them. There is a story about an ancient tribe and when their village was going to be attacked they all tied a rope around their stomach and attached the other end to a stake in the ground. It represented their bravery and that they would fight for what was theirs or die trying. I've put my stake in the ground and am now ready to fight for what I believe. We are just people, connected by a string, fighting for what we believe.

Africa is calling and I'm answering.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dream to Real

We are Lyn and Darcy, a mother-daughter team living in Canada. We are set to fulfill a dream this summer before Darcy heads off to university. We hear the echoes of children in need of education; the stirrings from the wildlife that call the Masaai Mara home; and the rhythm of people who endure much - and have even more to share. Africa is calling ... and we are heeding the call.  
Follow along on our adventure as we travel to Kenya in July 2010 to help build a school and learn more about the world we live in -- and ourselves.We are a mother daughter team who want to share what we believe will a life changing experience. 

I just paid the final installment for the Free the Children trip this week. So that's it. The flights are booked and paid for (at twice the price - thank you World Cup!), and  Free the Children is booked and paid.

And considering how many months ago it was that we first put the wheels in motion for the Kenya trip, it is shocking to realize that we are only nine weeks out. Africa the dream is becoming a reality.

I still have a mound of paperwork to complete, and travel health insurance to buy. FTC requires that all trip participants get the best level of health insurance possible, including the emergency air lift options. With Darcy's anaphylaxis to bee and wasp stings, it is absolutely critical.

I also have to look into what shots and meds we'll need to get before we go to be fully protected against disease and the effects of insect bites etc.

The excitement that has been simmering for the past two years is heating to boil. And the support from our family, friends and work colleagues has been overwhelming. I feel like we have an army of angels pulling for us.

Africa ... the call is getting louder.


Itinerary: Here is what we are in for!

July 2, 2010 Adventure Begins

Day 2
  • Evening Arrival in Nairobi and meet the Me to We Trip facilitators.
  • Stay at Karen Blixen Coffee Garden: house was the home of the coffee farm manager for the Blixen Coffee Plantation. The home has been fully restored and now serves as a  resort.
Day 3
  • Visit the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage established in 1977 in memory of David Sheldrick, the famous naturalist and founding warden of Tsavo East National Park in Kenya.
  • Kenya Giraffe Centre
  • Alfresco dining at a popular local haunt.
  •  Karen Blixen Museum
  • Kazuri Beads Factory
  • Dinner at Karen Blixen Coffee Garden 
Day 4
  • Fly by plane to the Masai Mara for stay at Bogani Cottages and Luxury Tented Camp
  • Learn about Free The Children’s Adopt-A-Village Program
  • Learn about Free The Children’s unique Adopt-A-Village (AAV) model:  four key pillars to break the cycle of poverty and achieve long-term community development:
  1. Quality primary education
  2. Health care services
  3. Alternative income projects
  4. Safe/clean drinking water and sanitation systems
  • Visit Enerelai Primary School
  • Guided tour of Free The Children’s school – Enerelai, seeing the difference between an old and new school.
  • Dinner with Robin Wiszowaty, Free The Children’s Kenya Programs Director and author of a book about her experience living amongst the Maasai, entitled “My Maasai Life.”
Day 5
  • Community Water Walk: with the Mamas at Emori Joi for a special walk through the community. Learn more about how the Kipsigis organize their homes and live. Fetch water with the Mamas; talk by Mamas at Bogani about gender and culture in Kenya.
  • Lunch with Mamas
  • Community Welcome:  welcome ceremony in their community
  • School building 101: work along side Maasai/Kipsigi community members to help build a new school for the community. 
Day 6
  • Tree Nursery and Duka Tour
  • Visit Free The Children's newest program initiatives. Tour tree nursery, reputed to be one of the country’s largest, with 80,000 indigenous seedlings produced each year.
  • Visit the Duka, which offers beaded handicrafts by local women and is a part of Free The Children’s alternative income programming strategy.
  • School building: continue work on the volunteer school building project.
Day 7
  • Mulot Market:  an authentic African market and learn about the economic environment in which the community members live.
  • School building: continue working on your volunteer school building project. 
Day 8
  • School beautification
  • Plant  trees in memory of our visit to Bogani and Free The Children. Trees will be individually adopted by members of the community.
  • Medicine Walk and Maasai Warrior Training:  a leisurely hike as we learn about medicinal herbs from a local Maasai warrior. We'll also have the chance to train in the art of Maasai weaponry
  • Traditional Nyama Choma dinner – Kenya’s barbecue.
  • Say Kwaheri to the community
  • Debrief about the experience with  facilitators.
Day 9
  • Depart from Bogani for the Fairmont Mara Safari Club tented safari camp (more decadent than we'd prefer)
  • First safari: an evening drive through the Mara to look for giraffes, lions, elephants, hippos and buffalos
Day 10
  • More safari in the game park.
Day 11
  • Fly back to Nairobi by plane to Wilson Airport.
  • Market shopping
  • Re-packing  luggage for the journey home.
  • Feast at the Carnivore
  • Off to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for  flight home
  • Kwaherini na safari jemma!
Day 12
  • Arrive home in North America
Too short of a journey, I know. But it will provide us with a taste and we will surely return some day.