1) I was in a history class and we were talking about Africa. My teacher had been there and she described a trip she took. I can't remember where she went or really even any of her stories, BUT, I remember thinking, I'd love to go to Africa. That sounds really interesting
2) I went to visit my husband's family in Michigan and his cousin had been to South Africa to help with medical needs. I looked through her pics and I remember thinking again, gosh, I would really love to go to Africa. How fun would it be to work with all of these kids.
3) I met a couple (Brian & Jeanne, both of whom I've mentioned in this blog) who have done mission work in Kenya. I looked through their pictures and listened to their stories... the desire grew stronger every time I heard something about it.
4) Brian & Jeanne had 3 of the people they worked with from Kenya come visit. Talking to them was AMAZING and I felt like crying at the table. I knew right then and there that i WOULD be going to Africa at some point. Even more significant, I wanted to go to Kenya.
5) Then i got a bunch of little signals (I felt like they were signals from God) telling me that I WOULD be going to Africa. I met a lady in our running group who was from Kenya, one of my friends was telling her life story and she mentioned going to Kenya, I was walking through the market in Charleston, and I stopped at this lady's booth who sold jewelry. It turns out that her jewelry was made from materials in... guess where... Kenya
I couldn't BELIEVE it. And every single time I thought about it, talked about it with someone, I wanted to cry. I just felt such a compelling force in my chest that I knew that's what I was supposed to do. And so now the time is here. I've decided that now is the time and I am beginning to do research organizations. It turns out, there are tons and tons of organizations that go everywhere in the world. Here are a couple of things I've seen in my research:
Global Volunteer Network
There are a couple of trips that I can take, one to Kenya to work with orphans of HIV/AIDS mothers, tutor, etc. There are also a couple of trips to Rwanda which is another place I hold dear to my heart. I could actually teach business practices to women which sounds VERY interesting as I actually have some skill in that area. I would live in a homestay and while the duration can be as long as I want, it'll probably be two weeks because that's all my work will allow.
Kenya Voluntary and Community Development Project
I could actually do football coaching here!! How fun... I can also help build gardens for communities and work with orphans. All are in Kenya (hence the name) and would be a variety of living arrangements. Some are in volunteer centers, some in homes, etc. This is also the one where you can help council women on the weekends which would be VERY attractive to me.
I've got so many other organizations to review so this will take a while. I think the cost of the trip will probably be about $2500 so I may also use my Full in Savannah to help raise money for the trip. I'm still deciding. Either way, I'm excited I finally have a plan and am starting to implement it. How life changing will this be? Every time I see a movie or a documentary about Africa, I remember that we know NOTHING about poverty here in the US. There are many third world countries out there that want something more and have NO access to getting it. And that's why I want to go. Do I think that my one 2 week visit is going to make a huge difference? no... Do I think that should stop me from doing it? no... Will it be worth it if I can even show one child a little bit of love from somewhere else in the world?? yes.... and that's why I want to do it.
Have you ever volunteered abroad?
What was it like?
Do you have any recommendations on organizations?