Travel Notes – January, 2014
Karibu (welcome) to thoughts and images from cultural expeditions with Susan Deslaurier Travel.
Our 2013 tours held great magic and joy for travelers, as they reached into new corners of the world for all that awaits when we are willing to wander.
Snapshots in my mind include… A father and daughter in Tanzania exploring the origins of humanity in Olduvai Gorge and ancient lava beds. A family with three young girls sharing a slice of Maasai life, making friends at school, walking among monkeys, bead making. American students with local Kenyans planting 200+ trees, cleaning up heaps of beach trash, and brightening the day of students and orphans with sports and art. A spiritual group praying in ancient caves, and sleeping out under the stars with warriors to connect with the heart and soul of Kenya. A medical volunteer delivering a baby in the slums of Kibera. And of course the stunning sights of cheetah, leopard, elephant, rhino, hippo, giraffe, zebra, and millions of wildebeest trodding, splashing, grazing their way across the plains.
There are many reasons we can think of for not leaning in to the pull of our heart’s desire to explore this beautiful world. Time away from home, the cost, and unsettled politics can create a magnetic force that keeps us from saying “yes” to venturing out into the world. I can only say that all who listened to their desire for travels with us have had unforgettable experiences (read their thoughts here). These days, for better or worse, are our time here on Earth, with amazing people and places and experiences to explore, while keeping respect and care for security and safety. I welcome you to answer your heart’s yearning for world exploration by traveling with us.
What’s in Store for 2014…
Travelers are already lined up for great experiences this year with Great Migration safaris, Rwanda gorilla treks, Lamu Island old town and beach time, and medical volunteering.
There’s still time to join Kenya Modern and Indigenous Medicine, April 2014. From clinics in the Nairobi slum of Kibera and the rural village of Ukwala near Lake Victoria, to shamanic and herbal healing practices and mobile clinic in a Maasai community, to a tourist gate clinic providing acupuncture to locals, we will cover a lot of ground over either 22 or 13 day program options. This is an exceptional opportunity for medical students and practitioners to volunteer alongside Kenya medical professionals for first hand and hands on experiences.
Contact me if you’d like to come along. And if you’re interested in any other variation on the endless themes of travel to East Africa or India, we’re here to put it together for you.
2013 Community Contributions
As always, a percentage of each tour’s payment is donated to projects in the communities we visit. Every one of our travelers leaves behind a lasting benefit for local people, simply by booking their tour with us—asante sana, ashe oleng, many thanks to each of you. A few highlights from this year’s financial and volunteer contributions include:
• Enkiteng Lepa School funding for general school needs, as well as classroom volunteers and donations of materials to support reading, writing, math, music, sport and art programs.
• Asante Africa Foundation funding for education projects in the areas visited by our clients in Tanzania.
Medical volunteers and supplies for clinics in cities, villages and remote areas with mobile clinics.
Youth volunteers led art and sport programs during school break in Maji Moto, and at Children of the Rising Sun orphanage at the coast.
Conservation Beach Cleanup Conservation
Youth volunteers joined a community beach cleanup with Watamu Marine Association, filling dozens of bags with trash that threatened marine life and environment.
Conservation Medungi TreesThey also raised funds for Medungi Conservation to buy saplings and fencing, and with the Maasai community planted 200 holy and medicinal trees.
An organic farmer volunteer further nurtured the trees, and with her partner classroom volunteer provided a student nature program in the tree nursery.
Salaton Ole Ntutu We welcome Salaton Ole Ntutu back to the San Francisco Bay Area in February, to forge a link between his tribal community in Kenya and ours in the US by sharing his wisdom and life stories. He is a Maasai chief, shaman, community change leader, and my Kenyan business partner.
His mission is to generate awareness and support for health, education and conservation projects that preserve culture and nature while developing a self-sustaining community in changing times. This mission is at the heart of our shared purpose in leading cultural expeditions into his community. Salaton’s Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp and the projects he and others lead in his community were featured in the New York Times travel section.
Public events in February will be listed online. To schedule an event or personal healing and blessing session, contact Susan Deslaurier, at email@example.com or 925-518-3686.
Safari njema (safe travels),