ADS proudly sponsors The School of St. Jude – a charity funded school that provides a free, high-quality primary and secondary education to the poorest and brightest children of Arusha region, Tanzania, East Africa. Here’s their monthly update:
Talented students receive recording sessions and book vouchers for their cultural performance Fnouk Studios and Kase Stores Ltd sponsor gifts for best performances and designs. Hundreds of students from The School of St Jude proudly celebrated Tanzanian, African and other nationalities at its recent Cultural Day held at its secondary campus. The students did a range of creative performances spanning from hip hop, modern and traditional African dances as well as drama pieces showing a tribal King’s lunch and the hard work of African mamas.
“It was wonderful to see the creativity and imagination of the students,” said St Jude’s School Director Jon Ford. “It shows the wide range of skills our students have as well as the amazing academic achievements in the National Exam, including recently scoring 90 per cent Division 1 in the Form 4 mock exam.”
The fashion show was a highlight of the day with the students spending hours stitching together unique, colourful designs using kitenge, other East African fabrics and local produce including maize and leaves. It was a mark of respect for their culture but students also used Australian and US designs to show their appreciation of other nationalities.
“I used kanga, tissue paper, plastics and wood as they were local resources I could easily find,” said Anastazia, Form 3 student at St Jude’s. “My dad is a tailor so I feel sewing is in me as I love designing.”
Anastazia’s well-crafted clothes caught the eye of the judges and she won overall first prize and for her fashion label, Nyumbani Design.
Two talented St Jude’s secondary musicians, Elisante and Dorcas put on a top performance and were surprised and excited to receive a recording session given by sponsor, Fnouk Studios, for their efforts.
“I was really impressed by the students’ designs and performances and how Cultural Day builds a lot of confidence with the kids,” said Sune Mushendwa, Director of Fnouk Studios.
The event’s other sponsor, Kase Stores Ltd, gave book vouchers for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place overall winners.
Guests of honour included Miss Arusha Lillian Deus and Hisia, a Tanzanian singer and songwriter based in Nairobi who gave an inspirational speech on stage to the students about facing hard times in life.
“From an artist perspective, we have to do everything, when the road is rough and there are a lot of challenges, don’t let the challenges get you down, shake off the dirt and keep going,” said Hisia.
A month ago Jim and I departed for the adventure of a life time arranged by Sharon Lyon of Africa Dreams Safaris.
There is no way we can truly put into words how worry free and amazing our experience in Tanzania was. Every minute detail of our trip from the initial planning to departing from Tanzania for home was meticulously taken care of for us by Sharon and Africa Dreams Safari staff, our amazing “Animal Whisperer” Guide Russell and the wonderful Management and Staffs at the Mount Meru Hotel, Swala Lodge, Bushtops Tented Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, our Private Luxury Camp and Singita Sabora.
Our itinerary was perfectly planned and we were lucky enough to see and experience all of the animals, birds and sights we had imagined, dreamed of and hoped for as well as things we could never have anticipated.
We cannot say enough good things about our impressive Guide Russell who took special care of our every omfort, preference and need without our even asking him. In every way, in our opinion, he went above and beyond being our personal safari guide. His knowledge of the animals, birds, reptiles, topography, cultures and the country was astounding. Any animal we wished to see he was determined to find for us and always did. We saw every mammal, reptile and bird we had on our list and some we never before knew of that were fascinating and beautiful. His personality was wonderful and we felt very sad to leave him at the airport when we departed Tanzania.
There were so many highlights to our trip that when friends ask what was most outstanding we find it difficult to share only one thing.
Some of the “standout” moments of our safari were:
- Witnessing the wildebeest crossing the Mara River which was a sight and experience of a lifetime we will never forget.
- Encountering a zebra with a totally white mane was unique.
- Watching a glorious sunrise in the Ngorongoro crater which almost made us cry.
- Having a lioness pass in front of us while we were sitting and eating lunch on the Serengeti plain was an unforgettable life experience we never expected.
- Anton, our Guide at Singita Sabora, finding Cheetah brothers under a tree to welcome us to the Lodge.
- Seeing the animals living in their natural habitat and being able to study and photograph them at our leisure.
- Returning every evening to beautiful accommodations to be greeted and cared for by professional and friendly staffs.
- Eating bountiful, delicious picnics in the Bush and elegant, delicious dinner meals at each lodge were sensational experiences for us.
- Special unexpected touches and surprises such as an unplanned wine tasting at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge with local entertainment and a tub for 2 filled with roses and bubble bath after dinner.
- Birthday cake to celebrate Jim’s special day accompanied by singing and dancing presented by the staff at Swala Lodge
- Champagne with a special cake and singing at our Private Luxury Tented Camp.
- A rose petal path from the entrance of our tent leading to a chilling bottle of champagne in an antique silver bucket on our last night at Sabora.
All the thoughtful surprises made us feel very special and enhanced what was an already amazing trip well worth the 24 plus hours of air travel to get to Tanzania.
In total, we want to express our immense “asante sana” to ADS, Sharon, Russell, Anton Grace, Panteleo, Kadevu, Nico, Chris, Mina, T-Man and the many others in both the foreground and background that worked so diligently to provide us an unforgettable adventure of a Lifetime.
ADS is in a word AMAZING! We cannot wait to do it again and hope all of our friends will someday take this special journey with ADS on a private safari to amazing Tanzania.
Cherril and Jim S.
Wainiha Kauai, Hawaii
Safari Dates: June 26 through July 8, 2014
Two year before our African vacation my wife Jenny and two granddaughters, Haley and Morgan, were watching an episode of “The Amazing Race”. The Maasai warriors were performing their traditional dance. Mesmerized by this performance Haley, 15 years old, and Morgan,12 years old, asked, “Can we go and see them?” With Grandpa wrapped around their little fingers, I said “Yes, we can!”
This commitment, without any understanding of what I was getting us into, led to several months of fact-finding and research. Having never been outside of the United States or ever attempted travel this complex, I was completely lost.
My research uncovered many choices that had to be made: safari tour (8-12 people) or a private custom safari with just our family; location in Africa; time of the year; financial constraints; and children considerations. I finally chose a private, custom safari that gave us total control of our agenda and timing that could be altered if we needed to address the girls’ needs…or ours. Later I found that this was a crucial decision that made all the difference to us.
Having decided on a private tour, I needed to find an outfitter that offered them, and as luck would have it, I came across Africa Dream Safaris and Dawn Anderson. From my first phone call to our return home, she was with us the entire year and a half. Dawn answered all our questions…and there were hundreds; offered many options; made schedule changes at the spur of the moment; and gave advice throughout the process on every aspect of the trip. She was the catalyst for our successful adventure.
Our trip was in June, a wonderful time of the year for seeing wildlife and babies. Oh, the babies! The weather was fantastic and the Serengeti was still green and alive. The food was delicious. Jenny, a vegetarian, was accommodated throughout the trip. With the personal touches we received, you would have thought we owned the Company! At every stop we received cool drinks to quench our thirst, wet towels to wash the trail dust from our faces, and personal notes, hoping we were having a good time.
Our adventures were numerous and memorable. We ate lunch one day six feet from two cheetahs and their three cubs. Another day we saw a complete lion hunt from beginning to end.
My greatest experience was our visit to the Maasai village. This process involved a meeting of the elders prior to entering the village. As we crossed a muddy field the chief and several warriors with spears approached. Haley elbowed me and whispered that these people have nothing, are wild and dirty, and have flies all over them. She asked if we were safe. We spent several hours in the village. The chief explained community life in the village and how they all pitched in to help each other. We danced with them, visited inside their huts, and had an altogether insightful day into their lives, so different from ours. As we left across that same muddy field, Haley said to me, “Grandpa, I have never seen people so happy. I think I could live here.”
This was a life changing experience for us, particularly my granddaughters. Haley wants to have her honeymoon here and Morgan said she can’t wait to return. God willing, we will all return in 2015.
Our experience is etched into our hearts and souls, a once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation, thanks to the wonderful guides and people at Africa Dream Safaris.
Bill, Jennie, Haley and Morgan C.
Safari Dates: June 14, 2014 to June 24, 2014