$6,585.00Raised So Far
UPDATE - Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone for your support! Thanks to you, I reached my goal (ahead of schedule too!) and am just 5 short weeks away from the sweet pearly white smiles of the kids in Tanzania. I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful, kind, generous people in my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
If you'd still like to donate, hold that thought; I'm sure to be signing up for another trip again soon! :)
3/14/12 - As many of you know, I fell in love with Africa on my first trip there in January and could not wait to go back...and now it's happening...in June! I am so excited to get the chance to go back and see the sweet, joyful faces of the kids we meet,while giving shoes and hope to.
As you may already know, I have been actively involved with Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization that distributes shoes to people in need all over the world; domestically and internationally, in times of disaster and in areas just simply in need. Not only does Soles4Souls equip people with the basic necessity of shoes to protect them from disease & injury and make it possible for children to obtain an education, they also provide the opportunity and means of a Micro-Enterprise program in many places for local people to start their own business, which I particularly strongly advocate for, and that's one of the many reasons I chose to volunteer with them. It's wonderful to give people things they are without, but in order to have a lasting impact, they need to have the sustainability to make their own living and provide for themselves and their families.
I've been on 2 distribution trips with Travel4Souls; first to Costa Rica in the summer of 2011 and then to Tanzania in January 2012. The experiences and friendships I've come away with are indescribable, and have had a profound impact on my life and I want to continue doing more. It's truly amazing to know you're touching people's lives not only with the simple gift of shoes, but perhaps more importantly, just spending time with them.
While in Africa, we will be visiting schools, orphanages, and communities in Dar es Salaam, Kigoma, and Gombe.
My wish is that with those physical pairs of shoes, also comes hope and love.
Why Am I Doing This Again? Here's an excerpt from something I wrote shortly after returning from Costa Rica to help explain why I am so passionate about this.
Now that we're back, I find myself reminiscing on the trip, missing everyone from the trip, and most surprisingly of all to me, finding it difficult to talk about it to anyone who wasn't there. I didn't think that would be the case; after all, I wasn't "shocked" by the level of poverty we encountered and were immersed in for those few days - I've seen the equivalent before...many times in fact, and I've definitely volunteered and done work similar to this before (though not on the same scale). So I was surprised at myself and my reaction the first time someone outside the trip asked me how it was and even more surprised, that it didn't get any easier the more people I talked to. Words like "good, awesome, incredible, and amazing" obviously don't do it justice. And I found it difficult to explain it (in a few sentences no less) what exactly we did. Sure, we gave shoes to nearly 700 people in the village, or "slum" of La Carpio, as many articles on Google describe it, and we got to interact with the people while we fitted them for their shoes. But it was so much more than that. I shared on our last night during our "debrief" within the group that one of my two favorite memories of the trip was on the first day. We had just arrived to the place we were distributing shoes and hadn't even begun unloading the shoes off the bus yet, but were just checking out the set up and layout of where we'd be working and this little boy about 4 years old waved to me and said, "Hola", I smiled back and replied in Spanish and next thing I know he's latched on to my leg giving me a hug. The trip could have ended right then and there and it would have been worth it. Here's this little boy, whom mind you probably didn't even know we were there to give them anything, be so eager to show appreciation and love just because I was there. My second favorite was on the last day when we had gone to a school in La Carpio for the distribution and went around the classrooms to pass out stickers to the kids. I was taking pictures and chatting with the different tables of kids in my *less than stellar Spanish*, when we realized that the next group was going to be arriving soon for their shoes, so I started saying adios and waving bye, when I was literally almost toppled over by this young girl who rushed over to give me a hug. As we were hugging, several other girls came over and before I knew it, little girls were hugging and kissing me from all directions. I relished in that for a few moments before really having to leave -- talk about hard goodbyes. Others have similar stories that left a special impression on them: a blind "tween" aged boy who was all smiles from the moment he walked in the door and was just so happy and beaming the entire time (I wasn't the one fitting him, but I remember him because I noticed how HAPPY he was and I remember watching him from across the room. It wasn't until later I learned he was blind, but I knew exactly who he was as he was being described), a little kindergarten boy who happens to be HIV positive (obviously through no fault of his own), a woman who literally got up after getting her new shoes on her feet and did a little dance...
How do you begin to describe what it was like to experience and witness all that? It is moments like these that make these trips special and so unique. Yes, it is awesome to give people a physical pair of shoes that they need for everyday life and protection, but when that tangible thing transforms into so much more, that is truly indescribable. We do not know the whole extent of how this may have affected their lives, just like they don't know the impact and effect they had on us. When I called my mom to tell her I was back safe and sound, I remember telling her, "the people we met are awe-inspiring. Coming in from the streets where they live in something most people would hesitate to call a house, yet are cheerful, loving, and kind". It was really neat to see on numerous occasions an older brother who accompanied a younger sibling, even if they weren't getting shoes themselves, and watch as they comforted their hesitant younger sibling. These are the kind of people that inspire me.
Love, hope, kindness and humility - these are the things I now strive to remember more often and these trips are the perfect place to be indulged in all of that, while also serving the needs of the local people.
|jie yuan||$10.00||05/01/2012||Safe travel in Africa!|
|Jim, Kim, Joss, Nate, Cali Tramel||$125.00||04/28/2012||From the whole Tram Fam, congrats on all of your great work and we're all proud of you. You're a wonderful inspiration!|
|regina dancel-gabriel||$165.00||04/28/2012||You have a kind heart and what you are doing is wonderful. Have a safe trip!|
|Chris Dunkelberger||$40.00||04/27/2012||Have a good trip. come back safe .|
|Mary Sue Pressentin||$25.00||04/26/2012||Danielle, I will keep you and the others in my prayers while you are away. Take care...I am proud of you :)|
|Judson Davis||$25.00||04/26/2012||.....Great work and very inspiring, Danielle, and hope to see you at a SDSU or Padre game in the future! All the Best, Judson|
|Ashley Loftis||$10.00||04/26/2012||What a way to make a difference! Safe Travels Danielle!!|
|Torri Cable||$50.00||04/25/2012||You are my worthy cause today... well, and lots of other days too.|
|Julie Granfield||$10.00||04/25/2012||We just wanted to help you and the cause out. Hope you have a great trip!|
|Tim Louie||$25.00||04/25/2012||Aztec 4 Life! Good Luck with everything.|
|Karen Jenkins||$250.00||04/25/2012||I want to see you make your goal...! This is from Jeanae and I...we'll be wishing we were there with you the entire trip!! Go, Make a Difference, Inspire others, Transform the World, and remember...JOY IS FREE....|
|Patty Conaway||$55.00||04/25/2012||How could I say no to you, Danielle. Consider this a virtual hug (that will really confuse Katie). Safe travels and have fun.|
|Mike and Ria Ballou||$50.00||04/23/2012||Enjoy and take lots of pictures|
|David Rodriguez||$25.00||04/18/2012||Great work! One person at a time! "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." ~Edward Everett Hale|
|Pete Bratach||$50.00||04/06/2012||Good luck hitting your goal, Danielle!|
|E Jon Garcia||$50.00||04/06/2012|
|Sasha Cisson||$60.00||04/06/2012||Yay Danielle! I'm so excited for you that you're going back! Have a safe and wonderful trip. Give lots of hugs to all the beautiful children for me!! XOXO|
|Patty Conaway||$50.00||04/05/2012||So proud of you, Danielle. Have a wonderful trip with Amber and all the new friends you'll meet. .|
|Mike Testa||$100.00||04/04/2012||Good Luck in Africa. As you know it's an amazing and heart wrenching place.|
|Michael Chapman||$25.00||04/03/2012||Excited to help- and looks like you're making quite the difference! Safe travels!|
|Mitch Silvani||$100.00||03/31/2012||I am more proud to know you for your efforts here than for being the #1 Aztec fan I know! MS|
|Kimberly Testa||$40.00||03/30/2012||You rock!! Safe travels Danielle! xoxo|
|Karen Jenkins||$250.00||03/29/2012||Enjoy your trip! Continue to be a blessing!|
|Norma (Torri) Cable||$25.00||03/23/2012||Just wanted to put you over the $5000 mark.|
|Adam Smith||$50.00||03/21/2012||what am i signing up for where do i pick up my shoes|
|Laurie Carvill||$50.00||03/19/2012||Have a wonderful time! Give lots of hugs for me!|
|Kat VanCleave||$25.00||03/18/2012||I love your passion!|
|Frank Arteaga||$25.00||03/18/2012||Safe travels and best wishes!|
|Danielle George||$1,416.00||03/14/2012||SO excited and happy to be going back to Tanzania in June!!!|
|Brian and Wendy Wall||$25.00||12/30/2011|
|Evelyn Jensen||$40.00||12/17/2011||Good luck and Safe travels. Bill & Evie Jensen|
|Matthew Gregurich||$25.00||12/14/2011||I'll try to get some more donors at my current workplace(Yahoo!) for you too. We have a program called Yahoo Employee Foundation where employees can champion/suggest charitable foundations & orgs like yours. I'll point them your way!|
|Ruth & Greg Hartman||$100.00||12/14/2011||Thank you for being God's hands & feet ~ and bringing hope and happiness to those in need. We are proud of you making a difference. We love you ! Aunt Ruthie & Uncle Greg|
|Matt & Rachel Loflin||$200.00||12/09/2011||It is a true blessing to have the opportunity to help. Thank you for the opportunity and thank you for being a humble servant to those in need.|
|shannon rafat||$25.00||12/07/2011||Good luck and thank Suedy for sharing your cause.|
|Suedy Ezzatyar||$50.00||12/06/2011||This is such an awesome thing that you're doing! You're an inspiration :) -Suedy & John|
|Eric Cretarolo||$25.00||12/01/2011||Good luck!|
|Tim Louie||$25.00||11/29/2011||Hi Danielle! Hope this helps. Go Aztecs!|
|ray wong||$50.00||11/29/2011||Glad I can help for this great cause! The pictures you posted last time we're quite inspiring to get out and help others. You're an awesome person for giving back ~ Thank you for being you!|
|Breanne Cooley||$25.00||11/29/2011||So great what you're doing! Sending my support! :-)|
|Karen Scarpelli||$25.00||11/29/2011||Hi Danielle - happy to contribute to this great cause.|
|John Anderson||$25.00||11/29/2011||Happy to help a great cause|
|Torri Cable||$20.00||11/22/2011||Love that you're half way there- financially that is. I'll be with you in spirit. Please take pics of the zebras- none of mine turned out- and there may be babies- both females were pregnant in June. Hmm, gotta check out zebra gestation...|
|Jovan Chohan||$20.00||11/21/2011||What you're doing is awesome. Thanks for making the world a better place :)|
|Barry Lingelbach||$25.00||11/18/2011||Best of luck!|
|Mark Minutillo||$50.00||11/17/2011||Safe travels on your 2012 trip!|
|Sydney Pang||$25.00||11/17/2011||Good for you, Danielle.|
|Open Source Consulting Group, Inc Denis, Scott & George||$100.00||11/09/2011|
|Wes Dasse||$25.00||11/08/2011||It's all about the shoes!|
|Brad Schmitt||$25.00||10/29/2011||Here are the scallops I owe you. Enjoy! And I am soooooo jealous! I wanna go!|
|Jamie Despres||$25.00||10/19/2011||Good luck! Have fun. I am heading back to CR in May :)|
|Adam Smith||$25.00||10/17/2011||happy birthday, kicks4kids|
|Gene Ogden||$40.00||10/16/2011||Happy Birthday, Danielle! I am very happy that you are able to go on this trip! I wish I was going as well. Hopefully soon! Be safe as you are spreading your love, your kindness, and your smiles!!|
|Ian Tolentino||$25.00||10/16/2011||You are more than awesome, you are a *good* person, in every sense of the word. Makes me happy knowing you're out there doing your part in making the world a better place. Thank you! I wish I could give more. Oh, and Happy Birthday!|
|Diane Vinh||$25.00||10/16/2011||Happy Birthday Danielle! May your fundraising goals be met and your birthday bright and merry! Keep up the great work, girl!!!|
|Clara Lira||$25.00||10/15/2011||You have sparked a new interest in my heart...|
|Torri Cable||$25.00||10/13/2011||I'm still thinking I might go with you. I can't get Africa out of my mind. I miss all those smiling faces and wonderful travelling companions.|
|Chris Dunkelberger||$29.00||10/09/2011||Happy Birthday !!!!!|
|Diane Vinh||$10.00||10/08/2011||Go Danielle! Good luck in reaching your goal! It's awesome what you're doing.|
|Rob Mallery||$25.00||10/05/2011||Happy Birthday Danielle. Rock on!!|