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Gifting Sight

Posted on 8/29/2017 12:01:00 PM in Traveler Insights

Judy remembers the bountiful wildlife in Tanzania, but what stayed with her even more were the connections she made with locals.

By Judy F., 9-time traveler and 4-time Vacation Ambassador from San Diego, CA

My niece and nephews, ages 27 and 30, accompanied me on a trip to Tanzania on August 1-12, 2016 with Overseas Adventure Travel. I had been on safaris twice before, but they had never gone.

I was expecting the animals would be spectacular, and they were. I had never seen so many lions and leopards and their kills, as well as zebras, gnus, gazelles, elephants, and my favorite, warthogs. I kept track of all the birds and we identified 57 different ones. The guides were amazing and had fabulous tracking skills. But, as awesome as our game drives were, that’s not the reason I’m writing.

In Tanzania, we were made very aware of the absence of good water for drinking and household use. One time I used a sink and filthy water came out. People drink that stuff!

Our guide took us to a very small “factory” where a man and his family were making water filters by hand. These filters work for five years and provide enough water for a family.

The filters cost $40 each, and our group bought four of them to give away. We gave them to three different families and left one at a Maasai village. Our guides made sure that the recipients knew how to use the filters and how to clean them. This factory is supported through Grand Circle Foundation which, along with O.A.T., is part of Grand Circle Corporation. It’s amazing that for only $40, you can save lives!

From an O.A.T. publication, I also was made aware of the Reading Glass Project, which deals with the worldwide need for reading glasses for older people. I emailed the project and purchased 25 pairs of reading glasses for about $50. (The cost of the glasses was tax-deductible.) They are high-quality glasses and the project included instructions on how to fit the people.

I gave away a pair of glasses whenever I met a person whom I thought might need them. In one place, we stopped along the road to see how a family lived. Both the husband and wife accepted the glasses.

I gave several pairs away at the school we visited and to some men who were making bricks. One man was so excited, he asked for a pair for his grandmother. I gave away all of the glasses and the recipients’ smiles were amazing.

My niece and nephews said this trip was a life-changing experience for them. This was above and beyond O.A.T.’s usual stops at a school (which was wonderful) and a person’s home. I’m very grateful we were able to take this trip.

See the difference Grand Circle Foundation is making in Tanzania during O.A.T.’s Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge & Tented Safari.

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