About a decade ago, daughter Kelly's mother and I tearfully sent her on a three-week sojourn to Tanzania as part of a Cross Cultural Solutions program where she lived among the host-people and worked with children in the schools. Aside from putting our two dogs to sleep a few years ago, sending her off to a foreign continent on her own was one of the most emotionally difficult things I've had to do.
About a decade ago, daughter Kelly’s mother and I tearfully sent her on a three-week sojourn to Tanzania as part of a Cross Cultural Solutions program where she lived among the host-people and worked with children in the schools. Aside from putting our two dogs to sleep a few years ago, sending her off to a foreign continent on her own was one of the most emotionally difficult things I’ve had to do.
At the airport gate in Des Moines, she was as ambivalent, anxious and basically scared about leaving her home state as we were to let her go. She hesitated, looked at us with tears in her eyes, and I told her she didn’t have to go if she didn’t want to. She forced a smile, turned and walked down the concourse.
She returned home a healthy and a better person after witnessing how people in the Third World live. She made many friends among the Tanzanians and other Cross Cultural people with whom she stays in contact today. Her apartment is adorned with artifacts from her trip and many pictures of the children whose lives she touched.
It’s been a dream of hers since then to go back to Africa. She has a special place in her heart for the people of that continent, especially the children.
On the flip side, my sister Polly loves to travel. She and her husband have been fortunate to visit Africa, a few European countries and several countries in the Caribbean. Like Kelly, Polly has yearned for a return trip to Africa.
Kelly is blessed — or cursed depending on your perspective — to be the only female offspring in the family. Lots of boys on both sides, but she reigns true as the sole little girl. That enhances her place on the podium, especially as far as her Aunt Polly is concerned.
Well, Aunt Polly offhandedly mentioned to Kelly at my nephew’s wedding a couple of months ago about going back, and did Kelly want to go? It would be a girls-only escapade involving mostly volunteering, but also some sightseeing. Kelly quickly accepted the offer, telling me privately she wasn’t sure if her aunt was serious.
The two of them leave in late October for Namibia to volunteer for two weeks at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and the Clever Club School where Kelly will be teaching English to the Namibians. They will fly east to the Skeleton Coast of Namibia to wrap up their trip with some R&R. They return just in time for Thanksgiving.
Kelly spent the weekend with Aunt Polly in Liberty going over the itinerary, buying suggested supplies such as earth-tone clothing so as not to attract the lions, tigers and bears, hiking boots/shoes, a pocket knife, biodegradable toiletries and lotions, etc., etc., etc.
It will be summer in Namibia in November, and daily temperatures will be worse than what we Missourians have experienced of late. Both Polly and Kelly are air conditioner girls, so it should be an interesting trip with lots of tales to tell.
Stay hydrated, girls, stay hydrated. And watch your backs!