Global Grannies Visit Tenderfeet

Linda Sokoloski is a wonderful friend and supporter of Tenderfeet in Billings, Montana.  Below is an article she wrote about her experiences visiting Tenderfeet with her group, the Global Grannies. The original article is at this link. We are sharing it below with her permission.

In 1997, the “Global Grannies” – a group of mature women who take opportunities to learn by traveling the world – had just 3 members with one thing in common – they wanted to travel. Word spread, trips were organized and now the organization has close to 300 members nationwide! For the past 14 years, I have enjoyed the wonderful privilege of organizing up to 12 trips each year for the inspiring “Grannies.”

In November of 2010, I escorted 22 members on a Collette Vacations Kenya safari which started a lifetime project of giving back. I am a very experienced traveler but this visit to Kenya took me by surprise. We knew the tour was stopping at the Tenderfeet School – a Collette Foundation project site. What we didn’t know was how deeply the people that occupied that school would touch us all.

The hope and happiness the children displayed pulled at our heartstrings; and the determination and commitment from the teachers blew us away. Mama Margaret, who runs the school, is a truly amazing woman that is making a difference in many young lives in Nairobi.  These children are the bright future of Kenya. Once we met them, we knew we wanted to be a part of the mission too.

After that trip, the ladies gave donations to the Tenderfeet School to help provide the students with uniforms. Receiving a photo of all the children holding a sign thanking us was a very humbling and proud moment. It reminded me how in need these students are, and made me want to do more.

On the anniversary of our trip, the ladies and I decided to do something really special. We collected enough donations to have a water tank built at the school and to send all of Tenderfeet’s students on an educational field trip to the Nairobi Zoo. It meant a lot to be able to provide the school with a physical necessity as well as an experience that we hope they will keep with them for the rest of their lives.

They say that the wildlife in Kenya is what draws people to visit the country, but the people are what make you want return.  This couldn’t be truer in my mind. The yearly connection our group has with the Tenderfeet School keeps the memory of our trip alive and reminds me just how good giving back feels.

“Asante Sana” is a phrase we learned on our trip. It means “many thanks.” The children at the school said it to us when we left as they waved goodbye. Now, the Global Grannies say “Asante Sana!” to the children and teachers at the remarkable Tenderfeet School.

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