Adventure seeker doing her bit to make a difference
Imagine a trip that combines the largest mountain in Africa, Maasai culture, football and changing lives. This was our Australian volunteer Sponsorship Manager's experience when she recently visited our academy in Tanzania.
Danielle Davidson is an adventure seeker and importantly someone who wants to make a difference. She volunteers her time at Lengo Football Academy to help us build relationships with businesses in Australia and Tanzania.
Danielle speaks about her once in a lifetime experience about being mesmerised when watching the excitement on faces of the locals, the surprise experiencing a culture that can be happy without many material possessions and about the importance of everyone doing their bit to improve the world.
What drove you to volunteer for Lengo and to visit Tanzania?
From a volunteer perspective, I have always held the belief that people all around the world should have the opportunity to have a bright future - from the basics of water, food, community, education, sport and career. I met the Lengo team because I wanted to make a difference to the lives of people in need and when I met the team I instantaneously felt a sense of community, home and purpose. I knew I had chosen the right team to work with and the right charity. Holistically, I’m keen to implement positive changes within the Tanzanian community by reducing poverty and giving young people and families the opportunity of a bright future.
I wanted to visit Tanzania to visit the Lengo academy and better understand and ‘see’ what Africa is like. I thought this would give me an life experience that I can share with prospect sponsors other business affiliated organisations.
In addition i am a bit of an adventure seeker, so it has been a personal dream of mine to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for some time. It is the largest freestanding mountain in the world, 4 largest mountain in the world (dormant volcano) and the highest peak in Africa.
What was your favourite experience when visiting the academy?
My favourite experience was gifting the donated soccer gear (shoes, balls and clothes) to the young people of Lengo. They demonstrated so much excitement, gratitude and happiness to receive these items. It’s was amazing to see how one persons used items are seen by others as priceless gifts which often were a ‘first’ in many of their lives.
What did you love about Tanzania?
Culture and the people. The people are so rich, rich in their attitudes and humility. My most memorable experience was on the mountain of Kilimanjaro our guides welcomed and closed the adventure with traditional singing, clapping and dancing - traditional African style. It is one of those events that moves you from the core, and you embrace, wholly the culture, emotion and love they have for life. With tears in our eyes, my 12 adventure buddies and I just knew in that moment we had experienced one of the most amazing life adventures yet.
What surprised you the most about Tanzania?
Coming from a developed county, where people are often striving for more, more materialistic items and the search to be monetary rich, compared to being in Africa and seeing the complete joy and happiness people demonstrate with very little possessions. They demonstrate very rich attitudes in the sense of love and happiness and life fulfilment. They know how to bring happiness to their lives by sharing their gifts of music and laughter - which for me was mesmerising.
Has visiting the academy changed your perspective on life? If so, in what way?
Absolutely, by doing something so small you really can make s difference in people’s lives. Any contribution of time, money, secondhand clothing, books all has the ability to significantly impact a child’s life for the better. These young people were so eager to learn, connect and experience parts of my life which reinforced my role at Lengo and why it’s important to help make change to their lives.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of volunteering for, or visiting, an international non-profit organisation?
Do it!! Feels great making a difference and seeing how we as humans can change the lives of less fortunate people. But most importantly it was an inspiration to see what we (Lengo) have created.
No matter how much you can contribute - it all adds up. If everyone did their little bit - I believe the world would be a much better place.
If you are interested in donating to support our academy or visiting us in Tanzania please get in touch.