a single impulsive decision, a lifetime of memories

In 2010 I decided to go to Africa. Just like that…typical.   I can be fairly impulsive – I am a jump first, think later kind of person, committing myself to something that Future Me will have to deal with when the time comes.

A young woman from our church, was leading a group of people to the place that had captured her heart and soul – Kenya. She had been a few times before to work in an orphanage, and was organizing a group to go to a town just outside of Nairobi to help out and gain some perspective. I immediately jumped in. I came home and told my husband  “I think I’d like to go to Africa in September”, gave him a few details and he said “Sounds like a great trip – have fun, we’ll manage here.” Seriously. He is THE MOST supportive guy ever.

The trip was more than I could have ever dreamed it would be – it was physically and mentally draining, and it was incredibly rewarding – and we had SO MUCH FUN.

Snack time in the Ngong slum

I bring this up because my son, who is 20, will be traveling to Africa in a few weeks, with an amazing organization, to dig wells, or build walls – not sure which, and as we are making the final preparations for his trip, my mind goes back to my trip. I can smell the African air – the way the garbage is constantly burning in the slums and carries over the entire town, and the damp smell of the rainforest, and the animal smells on safari. I can feel the dry grass crackling under my feet, and I can hear the noise (lots of noise) of the markets, or of the monkeys in the trees, and the sweet, sweet sound of the children singing.

Playing games

I remember the taste of the chapati and the garlic french fries that we ordered from our hotel restaurant almost daily, because it was the safest (and most familiar) thing to choose. I also remember the taste of the cold Tusker beer that was so welcomed after a long hot day, and the birthday cake we gladly enjoyed, after singing and dancing around the table in celebration of one of the local women – a woman who was working to finish university to become a doctor. Our gift to her was her first ever brand new pair of shoes to wear on graduation day.

We were invited to join the graduation party.

I have many incredible memories from that trip, including using THE WORST public restroom I hope to ever, ever see (or not see – that is another story for another time)…and sitting around a campfire sharing stories and songs with a Masaii family (spoiler alert: Oh Canada does not inspire that Masaii jumping dance that they are famous for).

I will share them periodically, but for now, I am beyond thrilled and oh, so very proud, that my son will get to have similar experiences and provide support in a community that could use some help.  xoxo

Campfire in the Masaii Mara – guitars, songs and stories



You will be terrible….

Gah!  Not exactly inspiring is it?  I borrowed the idea for this title from another article I read….well, okay I briefly glanced at it, out of a morbid concern about the message.  Turns out, it was a positive/negative spin on motivation.  I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement and positive encouragement – but I really like this message.

The idea behind the post is to just do it.  You are not going to be amazing right off the bat – and that is a pretty important message for us and our kids to have.

We live in an era of immediate gratification, fast food, netflix, credit etc – are all ways that we can get what we want immediately without having to wait.  As parents, I think it’s even harder to teach hard work and effort, success and failure when our kids are being lured by the satisfaction of having whatever they want now, than it was years ago, when we had to wait for a movie to be released, and if you missed it, you wouldn’t get another chance to see it….ever.  (Until years later when they were released on those giant discs, and you had to go to the store to rent a disc player….)

That sense of immediate gratification gravitates also towards our kids achievements.  No one gets left out, every kid gets a medal.

It is important for people to understand that not everything they do is going to medal worthy – maybe’participant medal’ worthy, but not amazing, inspiring or transformative…but it IS important to START – and to persevere.

Read the original message here:http://www.cammipham.com/will-always-suck/