Without Borders...

Abby and Sara have been best friends since they met in the dorms at Colorado State University in 2002. Each year since then, they have been on at least one trip together, with the last few years consisting of backpacking travels through Europe.

In 2010, they decided to put their desire to see the world towards a more constructive cause. Instead of taking an adventurous vacation, they chose to visit Tanzania and volunteer with Light in Africa for five weeks.

This winter, they are going back to Light in Africa to volunteer for another five weeks, and can't wait to see how much "their" kids have grown!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Long and Dirty Day

 As Abby said, we’ve been putting together Christmas gifts for all the 230ish kids supported by LIA for weeks now.  We finnnnallllyyyy got all the outfits settled for the kids in Mirerani, and as Lynn wants the kids to wear their new outfits on Christmas, we hand delivered the clothes for Lighthouse (boys home) and Fleeze House (girls home) yesterday. 

We didn’t have the chance to stay in Mirerani (actually a good thing!) like we did last time, but the down side of not having to sleep in the whore house is we didn’t get to spend much time with the around 65 kids who live out there.  When we dropped off their Christmas outfits however, we had about an hour at each house to try to trick the kids into liking (or remembering) us.  I used my iPhone and love of tomboy type activities, while Abby immediately did whatever she does to get in good with the older kids. 

After the visit to the houses, we stopped by the food kitchen again.  We actually recognized some of the kids that were there from a few weeks ago – and better yet, they remembered us.  The only time these kids see white skin is when LIA volunteers come out and help feed them lunch.  Most are so shy and scared, it takes ten minutes of making stupid faces and demonstrating random ‘skills’ (like flicking a pebble across the room) to make them warm up to you.  They pretty much just laugh, and then hide their faces, then try and do exactly what you did.  There was one little girl that was terrified of me though (even though I was ignoring her).  The other kids thought it was funny how scared she was of me so they kept pushing her at me…she must have thought I wanted to adopt her – haha.

After the visit through Mirerani to see all the kids, we somehow ended up driving through the Tanzanite (high priced gem only available from this area of Tanzania) market.  The route was actually kind of stressful, as the car was so surrounded by shady looking fellas the Land Rover was constantly honking - third world style.  I didn’t get too worried though until Tony (another volunteer who’s older, over 6’ and has worked and volunteered all over E. Africa) looked around at Abby and I sitting in the rear of the vehicle and said, “Mama Lynn would not be okay with you guys being here”.  I think I just said, “uhhh….should we lock the doors”?  Although I absolutely felt on edge driving down that street, it was pretty interesting seeing how that ‘blood’ gem trades hands.

Tony had two neighbor girls who raised $100 for him to buy some goats for LIA, so Abby and I were thrilled when we were able to tag along.  As I grew up with goats and still think they’re pretty cute, I was excited to go to the largest live stalk market within a few countries (yes, countries – not counties).  We pulled up to this field-ish area, and there were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of goats (the cows, sheep, donkeys, etc. have another area).  Maasai were everywhere, some with a heard of around twenty, some with a heard of one, but EVERYONE wanted you to look at their goats. 

I was happy to oblige, and was quick to ignore the ugly goats and point and smile at the cute ones.  Tony and Paulo (the guy who was actually doing all the work that goes into buying goats from a field) were not too thrilled with my eagerness to let the salesmen know I liked their merchandise, and they kept telling me to keep my mouth shut and my head down – yeah….right.

Finally, no thanks to me, the guys were able to agree on two wonderful goats for Tony’s donor girls.  The lady goat we immediately named Zawaiti (gift in Swahili), and the very endowed male we got is named Chakula (food).  The hope is that ‘food’ will give some gifts to our girl ‘gift’ before he’s our dinner.  When we have to fill out the customs declaration form that asks if we've been around any live stalk, we're going to be lying severely when we say no.

The best part of this goat experience (for me) was teaching these tough African kids how to milk a goat.  They will walk through cow poop, pull 3’ thorns from their feet with little limping, and pick up giant bugs for fun, but if you let a dog lick you too much, or touch a goats nipples – you are the grossest and funniest thing alive.  I was clearly doing all I could to gross them out, talking about five of the bravest (or weakest) of them into trying to milk it, and they all though it is horrible.  To really get them squealing, I’d shoot the goat milk at their toes.  Never thought I’d be able to make an African child grossed out, they must have all been city kids.


  1. That is so funny. I loved your blog but have to tell you that you "write" like a city kid when you call it a goat heard instead of herd and it is live stock not stalk!!! I wish I would have been with you two just to watch the trouble you caused!

  2. It's funny and scary for us 'city kids'. I'm so proud of you for actually taking your life and doing this with it. So many of us ~ me ~ donate money, but don't actually walk into it like you girls have. Great job!!
    Hug a child for me.