“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
Takeaways from Tanzania
If I had to choose one word to sum up my trip to Tanzania it would be
The dictionary defines awe as a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.
Synonyms: Wonder, wonderment, amazement, astonishment, admiration.
Yes! Yes! Yes!
Here are just a few of the awe-inspiring experiences from my trip with Together Women Rise – along with an invitation to all of us to add more moments of awe to our days – no passport required!
Awesome Experience 1: Meeting the girls at SEGA (Secondary Education for Girls’ Advancement). The students greeted us in song and took great pride in showing us their campus, teaching us their dances, and sharing their dreams for the future. Without a cell phone in sight, our interactions were playful, warm, and deeply moving. I was stunned to learn that more than half of girls between 14 – 19 are not receiving any formal education. Fortunately, most of the SEGA students receive full scholarships based on financial hardship. My experience confirmed my belief that when you educate a girl, you change the world.
Awesome Experience 2: Visiting the two-room home of one of the SEGA students. The family spent 4 days preparing food for our visit. What they didn’t have in creature comforts they more than made up for in hospitality and commitment to family. It was a humbling and heartening to experience such richness of spirit and connection even amidst such lack of resources.
Awesome Experience 3: The rats (don’t judge!) trained to detect land minds and tuberculosis at APOPO Hero Rats facility. Yes – an animal that traditionally inspires a ‘yuck’ finds nobility and purpose. Apparently rats have two primary instincts – curiosity and fear. The trainers capitalize on their curiosity (and exquisite sense of smell) to train each rat. According to our guide, no rat has ever made a mistake in the field. The rats allow people who have survived wars to return and reclaim their land and homes. (Note – no rats are blown up during training, or in the field. They are too light to trip a land mine.)
Awesome Experience 4: The animals we saw on safari at Tarangire National Park.
While all of the animals we witnessed were amazing in their own ways, the elephants truly captured my heart. Looking into their eyes was nothing less than soulful. I came away with an even deeper appreciation for our interdependence with all of nature and our responsibility to be better stewards.
Awesome Experience 5: To top it off, I had the incredible good fortune to bump into one of my all-time heroes, Jane Goodall, on the way home. I was so flabbergasted all I could do was bow and say, thank you. Jane reminds me of the power and beauty of living ones mission.
Bring Awe Into Your Life Without Boarding a Plane
As extraordinary as my adventure was, we don’t need to go to Tanzania to experience awe. We just need to regularly pause, put down our phones and experience our lives with fresh eyes.
Look out your window. See that bird. Listen to its song. Witness that leaf fall from the tree. Breathe in the rise and fall of your dog’s belly as she sleeps.
As my father regularly and rightly reminds me – we must strive to experience every day as if we’ve never seen it before and never will see it again.
So, here’s to this day. Make it count.
“Those seemingly ordinary moments of wonder in your life – when you are arrested by the sunset or swell of music or your child’s face, and the line between you and everything blurs – are not throw-away moments. They are actually portals into the sacred nature of things.” – Valerie Kaur
Email me your moment of awe.
See you next time.