Monday, June 7, 2010

in her own words: Africa Calling...

I was recently at an African festival and I saw this beaded chair. I appreciate that someone took the time, out of love, to create such a divine piece, bead by bead. I have always been fascinated by African art and culture and you can often find me daydreaming about what arts and crafts warmed my ancestors' hearts.

Did they also have the same special feeling that always walk hand in hand with creating some thing with my own two hands?

Did they also do their best to improve the world in which they lived -- often in seemingly impossible ways -- making it better for their children, and their children's children, like me?

I'm always encouraged when I see others trying to improve our world in their own way. Please join me in giving a warm welcome to today's guest, Lyn, co-author of the inspiring blog, Africa Calling. I hope you enjoy this unedited version of our recent conversation. One love.

Greetings, my dear friend. Could you please introduce yourself and give a brief description of your blog?

Thanks Se’Lah for your interest in our blog. My name is Lyn and I have been blogging for about 2 years now. This year my daughter Darcy and I celebrated milestone birthdays – I turned 50 and Darcy turned 18. We wanted to give special meaning to our milestones decided to take a trip this summer that we have been dreaming about for years. It is a voluntour adventure with Free the Children. Once we started planning and realized how involved it was we thought it would interesting to start our blog - Africa Calling – to share our experience and perhaps provide insight for anyone else considering such a trip.

How long have your lived in Canada? and in what region?

I am a proud, flag waving Canuck - born and raised in Ontario, Canada – a land where you are free to be.

How is your community demographically composed? Is there anything special about the local culture you would like to share with us?

One of the aspects I am most proud of as a Canadian is our aspiration as a country to embrace and include people of all cultures, orientations, and nationalities. We understand that diversity makes us stronger as a nation. We live in southern Ontario near Toronto, a city that celebrates a mosaic of international cultures. Darcy and I are pasty white, fifth and sixth generation Canadians with few struggles ... we have much to learn and understand.

Do you have any hobbies? Or any particular area of study that interests you?

I am a communicator by profession and some just say I talk alot! I love to capture moments with my camera and document the human experience. Darcy is starting university in the fall to study international development so we can’ t wait to soak up everything Kenya will have to offer.

I was so incredibly impressed when I first stumbled upon your blog, Africa Calling. Can you please tell us a little about Free the Children and your mission to help raise funds to help build a school in Africa?

The effort to raise enough funds to build a school was like the icing on the cake for us. We know we are fortunate to have the means to get ourselves to Kenya and started thinking of ways we could contribute and give back. Darcy has been involved with Free the Children for years now so we decided to participate in their 100 School Challenge. We established our own fundraising page, called Milestones for Education and started raising awareness of the importance of education – the ideal of access to education for all. We are only halfway there but we will continue our fundraising efforts after we return from our trip until we reach our goal.

Do you have any suggestions regarding how we can help you in this endeavour?

I have been deeply moved by the support of the blogger community. Seven followers of my main blog, Lyn’s Lifepixels donated to our cause which really blew my mind; a testament to the generosity of the human spirit. If your blogger followers could help raise awareness of Milestones for Education it would be greatly appreciated. Donations of course, no matter the amount are always appreciated as well.

Is there something specific about Kenya and its culture that tugs at your heart strings? Was there a defining moment that led you to the decision to travel there in person?

Darcy had been exposed to new ideas and issues that impact the world through the Free the Children leadership academy. She developed a keen interest in meeting Kenyans and seeing their way of life first hand. Darcy and I have been fascinated by the spirit of Africa – the resolve of the people to survive and thrive in an often hostile, challenging environment. I can’t think of one defining moment other than realizing that life is short and that some things have to be experienced in person. I saw this as a unique opportunity to share something life changing with my daughter.

Can you tell us what you hope to contribute to the children and people of Kenya during your visit? What do you hope to learn from them?

We feel an overwhelming gratitude for the quality of life we have and the opportunities that are available to us simply because we were lucky enough to be born where - and to the parents - we were. We have seen how people with seemingly insurmountable problems and burdens find reasons to smile and joy in their everyday existence. We know we can learn from this. We will be spending part of our trip school building and tree planting but truthfully, I think we will be getting more than we give. If I have anything to contribute I think it will be when we return home and help spread enlightenment and awareness of the issues Kenya is facing and how we can play a part in solving the woes of the human race. Africa is a continent of such astounding beauty and possibility – in both its people and landscape. We want to experience both.

What are you looking forward to the most about your upcoming trip to Kenya?

Darcy and I know we have much to learn about the complex challenges facing African and other developing nations. We want to see the faces of Kenya, hear the stories of the people, especially the mothers and children. I want to share the love in my heart and I will have to exercise restraint in not bursting into song – cause I can’t hold a tune!

Thanks so much for stopping by here, Lyn. Wishing you safe travels to Mama Africa. Please place your palm on her soil and tell her I send her peace and love. Do you have any parting words for our wonderful readers?

Blogging is a powerful tool that I believe can be instrumental in uniting the human race. I want to thank you Se’Lah for your tireless efforts to promote love and peace amongst humankind and keeping the struggles of those who need our help top of mind. Peace to you all.


Marilyn Miller said...

Thanks for introducing us to this blogger with a heart.

Now that beaded chair is spectacular. I don't think I could sit in it, it is so beautiful.

Umā said...

What a wonderful interview, thanks for sharing this, both Se'Lah and Lyn!

Kass said...

What a wonderful way to share awareness for culture and our world. Thanks for the introduction to Lyn and Darcy.

margie said...

beautiful interview. gotta love those canadians. oh right, you already do!! xoxo

Chris said...

What a beautiful work of art! I agree, it's too beautiful to sit in. Wonderful interview with Lin. It always amazes me how regular, every day people manage to accomplish so much more, with so little, than our own government and with great success. I will be following Lin and her daughter Darcy. Thank you Se'Lah and Lin for a wonderful interview.

Cindy said...

Se'lah, what a great interview. I love the chair, can not imagine how many hours that took to make. I agree that you are wonderful for what you do and for your loving heart. may we all strive to be more aware of others., hugs.

Tracy said...

Thank you, Lyn for your insights, inspiration, love and beautiful work you're doing on behalf of others! Wonderful interview, Se'Lah. I'm glad you're keeping the interview series going and introducing us to such inspiring souls! That beaded chair says so much about beauty, wonder, life and love. :o) ((HUGS))

Gayle said...

What a great interview! Thank you, Se'Lah and Lyn!

Operaton You said...


SE'LAH... said...

Safe travels Lyn. We look forward to hearing from you upon your return. Thanks for all you do to make the world a better place.

one love.