Africa is everything you’ve ever imagined it could be, and nothing like you ever could have imagined.
Granted I haven’t been all over Africa – I haven’t even been all over Tanzania yet – however in the small bit I have seen and experienced, I can honestly say there is something magical about this place.
We are not tourists here… and that makes a big difference.
We’re staying with a local family in their guest house, we’re cooking with the local ‘mamas’ from the Dare Women’s Foundation while on site (it’s quite amazing watching a small area covered merely by a tarp be transformed into a full on kitchen…) preparing some of the most tasty and memorable meals ever, and our volunteer work in this remote village is building a fence around a property that will one become a community home for women in need.
We pass children in their uniforms on their way to and from school, flashing the whitest of smiles, screaming ‘Jambo!’ while running after our bus, impressively keeping up with our pace.
We get welcomed by the village mamas in their beautiful brightly coloured dresses and kangas (traditional wraps) with singing and dancing and shaking of hips and whistle blowing (I have never been greeted with such genuine warmth and excitement…) It really does bring tears to my eyes every time.
And we’ve seen giraffes walking along a ridge in the distance, while hearing hippopotami (is that the plural of hippopotamus?!?) snort in a lake right next to us, as we share big dreams and big fears taking the ladies in our group through my ‘Spark Your G.E.N.I.U.S.’ program.
I feel so incredibly fortunate to be experiencing what I’m experiencing and learning what I’m learning right now.
And, you don’t necessarily have to go to Africa (although I will say, if and when you get the chance, GO! It is INCREDIBLE and so hard to describe…) or another part of the world to shift your perspective or learn important lessons.
But one of the biggest things – takeaways, highlights, learnings – is not really a new lesson at all.
I’ve long since understood the power of it, yet being here it’s become even more evident to me.
Despite different backgrounds, regardless of various upbringings, beyond obvious language barriers, I continue to truly connect with so many of the local people I meet and have the honour of working with.
And it brings so much more meaning to every interaction.
Connect with others.
Connect with yourself.
Connect to the moment.
Last week I spoke about people, experiences, and moments making the world go around.
Well, continuing on that theme, the next step is to truly CONNECT.
If you are not connecting with these people, experiences, or moments, you will miss the mark, and the magic.
And so with respect to people specifically, here are three easy ways to more powerfully connect.
1 See people.
See people for who they truly are. Get to know them. Be let in. Place yourself in their shoes whenever possible. Learn their names. Learn their story.
2 Share Yourself.
Don’t be afraid to self disclose. Let them in. When you open up, you invite them to do the same. And vulnerable sharing is the birthplace of deeper and more meaningful connection.
3 Smile More.
Don’t underestimate the power of gestures. Making eye contact, extending a hand, or offering an embrace goes a LONG way. Especially when there may be a language barrier. Smile. A smile is truly worth a thousand words. Smile and the world smiles back at you.
When you want to more powerfully connect with someone, use these three tips and you’ll be well on your way.
After all, human connection is important, and people, experiences, and moments make the world go around.
It’s been an incredible first week here in Tanzania, and tomorrow we head off at 5am towards the mountain to start our climb up Kilimanjaro.
Wish us luck!