Torsten had been traveling through Africa for almost 2 years. When we met in Cape town, it was the end of his journey. We left South Africa and lived/traveled in South East Asia and the USA for about a year. However, I always had the feeling that he was craving to return. Every time he was mentioning his time in Africa, I could sense his passion, he was fired up, filled with the excitement of the past memories. He always wanted to show me the places he had been,and even though Africa had never really been on my top list of places to visit, his enthusiasm was so contagious that I ended up here, in Johannesburg, on the first week of January 2015, warmly welcomed at Julia’s incredible place, ready (but honestly a bit scared) for 2 months of backpacking through Southern and Eastern Africa.
Despite the excitement, we had the feeling that something was missing. We were tired of the usual backpacking. Going from one place to another to check it out, take three pictures, post our smiley happy faces on Facebook and move on. We wanted to travel with a purpose, make a difference, do something meaningful. I can not count the times he mentioned that school in Kenya where he stayed at the very beginning of his journey. Mama Dolphin, this visionary strong woman and Patric, her hard-working and dedicated husband, devoted their life to those 200 children, offering them education but also love and shelter. Since Patric left us last her, things became way harder for Mama Dolphin, and we felt that we needed to so something about it.
The breaking point ? That evening with two friends, Julia and Brian in Joburg, after a huge brainstorming we came up together with this funny idea: we’re gonna gather all the money that we initially planed for our travel through Africa and devote it all to build a volunteer house to support the school! We envision a regular flow of volunteers, coming to share their knowledge, entertain the kids, teach, help in the farm, create fund raisers and do so much more! The deal? Every penny we spend on our way to Kenya is one less for the project, so we better travel cheap, be creative, get support, walk the talk, sell our last Tshirt if needed to reach Kenya with as much as we can! We hope that people will support us, help us on the way,power us with encouraging words, increase our seed starter fund with donations, sponsor some of our expenses, talk about us to their friends, give us challenges to accomplish on the way and reward us in any kind of way. We want to raise awareness and make it not only a personal project, but give the chance to anyone who wants to get involve and be part of it in any kind of way to experience this extremely rewarding feeling of having done a little something that will change the life of 200 little ones and offer them a brighter future!
So after that Friday night over what has now become one of the memorable cup of tea I have ever taken, we decided to finally take action. We dedicated the following Saturday to set up the website (I could hardly believe that we could get that done in such a small amount of time, I have to thank Toto, I get noooo credit for this!), we all came up with “Cheap Impact”, and we laugh so hard about it that we felt it well worth keeping it! Today Sunday, we are sending out emails, reaching out to people who could potentially help us on the way; we contacted a backpacker who already accepted to host us for the night for free to support the project! (Thank you Homebase Backpacker!!) and we’re trying to figure out a way to leave Johannesburg tomorrow in direction of Zimbabwe!
I can hardly believe that a couple of weeks ago I wasn’t quite sure about this silly idea of backpacking Africa and I’m now balled-up in that crazy project with my idealistic boyfriend. Kind of crazy to see how damn fast plans can change :p