NAIROBI—When the participants have all been dropped off at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the hosts and rafikis all go back to their homes to sleep and we put away the detailed daily Seva Safari Program calendars from where they are pasted around our office, a bit of sadness falls over all of us. It is amazing the connections that can be made in only 10 days and we all realize that we will never be the same, and we have a new extension of our family that we will now miss because they live half a world away!
This is a good time to reflect and acknowledge why we feel such a strong connection. Each day during the program is packed with so much activity, and every experience is unique, both for visitors who are seeing informal settlements in Nairobi to herds of elephants for the first time, and for our local team to watch someone see this for the first time, the impact is powerful!
And while we are talking impact, this Seva Safari group has surely left it's mark on Kenya. This year we paired three groups together to deliver maximum impact to our communities.
First the YOD team arrived, a group of 4 from Minnesota, who led a 2 day workshop certifying 77 individuals to teach YOD. The very next Saturday, a teacher from Uganda posted on facebook that she is teaching YOD in her Kampala Saturday Community class!
Second, the PLAY team arrived, a group of 11 from the US and Canada who joined the YOD group and went to visit the 14 orphaned elephants they had adopted at the David Sheldrick Animal Orphanage and visited a special needs school that they had sponsored a building renovation.
Finally, the CLIMB group, a daring group of 5 ready to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro! But first, all three groups met in Amboseli where through their fundraising, we built 2 new school buildings in a rural Maasai School where 65 students will now have a suitable place to learn.
The model of our Seva Safari program commits 50% of the participants' fundraising to our partner programs, and 50% to Africa Yoga Project's programs. We like to show our impact in terms of our outreach classes as that is where our impact truly multiplies and ripples through thousands of lives every single week. The Tembea Na Jamii Seva Safari sponsored 1,600 outreach classes which covers 4.5 weeks of our total annual outreach program and provides 24,000 unique yoga experiences or "Savasanas", the final yoga pose.
This is not goodbye, but see you later as all 19 of you, and all of those who have ever been on a trip to Kenya know, you are always welcome back home to Kenya. See you soon!