My family and I have traveled quite often but I would definitely say our trip to Tanzania. It was part safari and part community service. We wanted our daughter to see Tanzania and to be honest we thought the 3-park safari was going to be the highlight of the 10-day trip. It was truly amazing as we saw animals for the first time in THEIR habitat NOT behind fences and that was breathtaking. Elephants, lions, wilder beast, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, tons of birds and more.
But what truly struck a chord to this day was pulling up to the middle school in Moshi in our bus and having 300 kids rush the bus screaming and yelling and waving like we were the Rolling Stones!
For a week we taught these amazing kids English in their dilapidated classrooms. Tin roofs, dirt floors, window frames without windows and no electricity. Yet they were the most polite, well behaved, joyous kids. If anyone on this earth had a reason to be angry or sad—it was them but they were not. In fact, they taught us to be thankful for what you do have and not sad for what you don’t! Their clothes were dirty and tattered, and they Ungali (like porridge) that they ate once a day in school may be their only meal. All they wanted to do was sit on your lap or hold your hand. We have amazing photos to go along with this trip.
Many of them, even the little ones walked to school sometimes a mile or two on a dirt road with torn sneakers or shoes. But never complained. The teachers were amazing. Paid hardly anything and full of energy and excitement and gratitude. At the end of our stay, my family and I donated 100 pairs of brand new shoes to the school for the children.
We cannot wait to go back!
Story by Louis Lanfranchi