As I reflect on my journey to Tanzania, I can honestly say it was life changing on so many levels that it is almost a challenge to put it into words. From the moment we landed and deplaned onto the tarmac, I was in a brand-new world. After getting through a rather lengthy customs process, we were greeted by the amazing Paul Gervas (Panga Panga as we learned to fondly hear other drivers calling out to him on his radio!). Our first night was spent in relative luxury and we were floating on sleep deprivation and awe. The following day, Paul retrieved us and literally took us on a journey to the UAACC Children’s Home (if / when you ever go, you’ll get to experience that journey so best I not spoil it for you!). Truly, I did not know what to expect. When we pulled up, immediately we were greeted by warmth, smiles, hugs, and laughter.
Initially, as I walked the grounds, I couldn’t believe this is where people lived. Yes, everyone was happy and taken care of, yet it was so, so vastly different than anything I have experienced in my life. I felt so sorry for the kids. I watched them do their chores (participating with cooking, serving and whatever their assigned duties were) then after meals, washing their dedicated dish with a hose. I was truly taken aback and wondering what I got myself into.
Fast forward…. when we left, I was crying. They were tears of joy and love. Tears of happiness that these kids had such a warm, loving village to help them thrive. They had roofs over their heads, food in their bellies, a true sense of community and people who genuinely loved and cared for them. And they were being given the gift of opportunity through education that so many in their country would never see. It hurt my heart to leave those dear faces that in just a few short days I had grown to love.
I am an American. Land of Opportunity. Land of Greed. Land of Entitlement. The people I met along my journey in Tanzania possessed none of those qualities. Instead they were kind, loving, happy, genuinely grateful human beings who kept smiles on their faces. When I returned home (after a 21 day journey that allowed me to the opportunity to visit four different countries including experiencing the wonders of Tanzania) I can truly say that my journey to Tanzania was by far the best, most gratifying time of my life. Going on a safari had been a bucket list item of mine since I was a young kid. Being able to experience that AND the Children’s Home was hands down, better than exploring the streets of Paris or the charm of Bruges or any other place I’ve ever had the opportunity to experience. It was deeply gratifying and meaningful. I came home with a new attitude and perspective and appreciation for what I do have. It also made me realize how it’s possible to live a happy, fulfilling life without the material things I’ve become accustomed to.
I cannot say enough positive things about our loyal & thoughtful guide, Kay Trotman, who made certain no detail was overlooked to the loving Pete & Charlotte O’Neal and the incredible people at UAACC and of course, the kids. The safari portion of the trip is another story but that was certainly mind blowing as well. For anyone that has the means, the time, the heart, and the desire to experience life as you’ve never imagined, I would not hesitate to recommend you take the journey and see for yourself…
If you’ve been inspired by our guest’s stories, please feel free to donate to our worthy organization. No matter how small, even $1 from everyone who reads this will go towards the education and living expenses for our children in Tanzania. Donate Here.
It was 2008 when my parents asked me to live in UAACC. At that time I was 5 years old. I did not know how to talk I was very scared. But after few days I captured the environment over there in UAACC. In UAACC I lived with other people but always my fellow leaders of tomorrow.
In 2017 I was in from 1 at ngongongare secondary school. In from ii I done my national examination and I got division I when. I entered form iii. UAACC and friends of UAACC decided to shift me to another school known as renea girls secondary school at njiro.
Visiting with the children on two of our trips to Tanzania made our trips complete. One would think the safaris, wild animals, or the food would be top on the list, but, it’s not. The graciousness of our host, whom I respectfully call “Mr. Pete,” and his wife,
Mama Kay asked us to share our words about our experience from the time we lived at the Leaders of Tomorrow Children’s Home. These are my words.