MGRC is located within reasonable driving distance to several world famous National Parks. While people on the other side of the globe dream of one day visiting these amazing places, the girls here at the center never felt like this was an obtainable ambition for them. Even though the admission for locals is only around $1 US dollar, once you factor in transportation and taking the time away from their everyday duties, the cost is still too high.
Teaching the girls to set goals and have dreams for their futures is something I have been working hard at. I want our girls to see that if they work hard they can achieve great things. They just need to have something to strive for, and to believe their dreams are within reach. Since many come from backgrounds where the next day was never guaranteed, the concept of a long term goal can be difficult to grasp. So, when I took some of our top students to Tarangari National Park as a reward, it was more than just a safari.
With 75% of our girls finishing in the top of 25% of their class this past school year, it was difficult to choose who to bring. I ultimately picked four that have passed National Exams or were otherwise exceptionally hard workers, and one new girl who was really in need of some extra encouragement. Our new director, Elisante, joined us along with his wife and daughter. On a side note, I have been working on hiring a director to help out at the center and I have finally found someone who is a good fit. I will give you a formal introduction in new blog post.
Tarangeti National Park is known here as Elephant Park. It has the highest concentration of elephants in the world. The girls absolutely loved the experience. At one point, we were eating lunch and there were monkeys trying to steal our food. I poised to throw a stick in hopes of scaring them off, when I tripped over a rock and fell backwards. “I’ve never been beat up by a monkey before”, I said as I dusted myself off. The girls laughed hard and we made jokes about it the rest of the trip. Word got out quickly when we got back, and the girls still howl with laughter whenever someone says that Rick got beat up by a monkey.
We talked about all the different animals on our way to and from the safari. The girls had never seen most of the animals, as many of them are not that common on our area outside the parks. One thing the girls really wanted to see was a lion, we kept our eyes peeled the whole time but we never did come across one. That’s okay though, there’s always next time. They are already looking forward to it.
P.S. Doesn’t visiting us in Tanzania and going on a safari sound like a fun trip? Hint hint…