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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Monday, 10 Oct 2011

Location: Penticton, Canada

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Karen here. Brenda has asked me to share with you some of my thoughts about our trip.

So if you are interested... I had a really good time. Africa is a wonderful place (the parts I saw were). The varied landscapes and people were beautiful and though it was a challenge to deal with an enormous lack of infrastructure, the local people handle it with calm strength and many strive to improve what they can.We tried to take our lead from them.

It was awesome to be able to tag-along with Brenda and see the end-result of all the work of many people over the last couple of years. I was humbled by your great generosity and happy to play a small part in balancing the scales of wealth. We will never really know the impact and long-term effects of the huge amount of donations that were given, but the potential for hope is amazing. You all did a great job and should be proud of yourselves. I was also left feeling like it will never be enough, but any travel to developing countries usually makes me feel that way and giving in to that feeling is pointless. We have to keep trying to share what we have.

The people there were grateful for the opportunity to partner with us. After all, unless they use what we give them and have a vision for how to share it with those who can best use the supplies, they will stay in the crate where you packed them. This is unlikely to occur. Brenda was very diligent in publicly announcing the intent of the donations and the recipients are now accountable to each other. In Rwanda, we saw the materials from last year's crate being put to good use and her plans to return in coming years provides motivation to this year's recipients to do the same.

I was impressed with Brenda's determination to accomplish what she has set out to do. This is balanced with flexiblity and ingenuity, so needed in Africa.

The smiles on the people's faces and the wonder at their fortune in receiving so many books, supplies, tools, etc. was gratifying. My favorite moment was at St. Timothy's school in Moshi when we delivered the books from Holy Cross school. The director announced that we had broght many books for the students to read and a boy about six years old pumped his fist, grinned and said "Yes!", as if he had won the lottery. I think he will be a regular at the school library.

Don't stop trying to help these people. We have SOOO much to be thankful for and so much we can share. We can't solve their problems overnight; they don't expect us to, but we can give them hope that somebody out there cares about them and wants their future to be better.

Thanks for the opportunity to go and to share in this task with you.

Happy Thanksgiving!