Amber Goes to Africa: The 411

It’s true. I’m going.

To Africa.

Crazy, right?

I leave in 5 days. Holy moly. {deep breaths}

morning what

I have been planning on writing and telling you all about it. But you know how well I think about things, then never do them. But my girls are gone and my boys are being babysat by the TV (mother of the year!), there is no excuse not to write.

When people find out I’m going, everyone asks the sames things – Where are you going? What will you be doing? Who are you going with? Why or what made you ant to go? How long will you be there? And heck, I’d want to know that stuff too.

So here ya go. The 411 about my trip…or at least as much as I know.

1) Where are you going:  I am going to Uganda. Specifically to the area of Soroti. At some point we will go on a safari (what?!) in Murchinson Falls National Park. Our last day will be spent in Jinja.

from lonelyplanet.com

from lonelyplanet.com

2) Who are you going with: No, I’m not going with a church. And no, this isn’t a “missions trip.”

You know that saying: Surround yourself with people you want to be like or who inspire you (or something like that)? Well, that’s what I’m doing. And crazy enough, it’s taking me to Africa.

So here’s a funny story. I met this girl on the internet, (don’t all good stories start that way?) on Facebook, through some mutual friends a year or so ago. She was raising money for trafficked girls through her org She’s Worth It. She raised a lot of money.

Then I saw her post about buying cows for some villages in Africa. She raised enough for the cows.

Then I saw her post about how she wanted to start retreats for women who run non-profits so they can take a break from serving on the front lines and be served. I thought that was a brilliant idea and I donated some of my cuffs for those ladies.

This girl kept on posting about needs and then those needs would be filled. She was full of life and seemed to have this crazy faith, even when she doubted things or wasn’t sure how she’d get stuff done. And on top of this, she has these 3 beautiful children. She’s a single mama who is living out life. She is Love Does.

Brandi is this girl’s name. And she is co-founder of Beauty For Ashes Uganda – the organization I am going with. You can read about her and how this little org was started and how it’s growing quickly and doing amazing things right here.

2) What will you be doing there: Beauty For Ashes Uganda (BFAU) is taking a team of 25 people. There are two different purposes for this trip.

The first is bringing along photographers & storytellers to visit the villages and gather photos and information for media/website/awareness purposes.

The second is partnering with Yobel International to give business training to some of the single mamas in the villages BFAU serves. They teach business training all around the world, specifically in impoverished areas.

For the first part of the trip, I will be in the business training group. I will be helping facilitate a table of 6-10 women from local villages and walking through the training with them. I think I am even going to be “teaching/leading” two sessions. Yikes.

After the first part (business training) we will go on safari. As fun as that sounds, I’m pretty freaked out about that part. I don’t want to be eaten by a hippo. I’m serious. I just want one for Christmas

After looking at animals in the wild, we will come back for the second half of our trip to a women’s conference for 1,500 single mamas & widows. And contrary to popular belief, I am not the headlining speaker ;)

Honestly, for the second part of the trip, I really don’t know what my “role/purpose” is, so, I’m going to secretly become one of the storytellers. Shhh….don’t tell anyone ;)

I don’t know what the conference is like and I’m not sure what I’m going to be doing there. I’m hoping I’ll at least get to dance. I’ll let you know.

After the conference, I think we visit some villages. But I’m not sure. This is where my secret storytelling role will come in to play. Shhh…

The last day of our trip we will stop through Jinja and visit two other organizations:  Sole Hope founded by Asher Collie and Amazima founded by Katie Davis. I’m super excited to see these in person & meet the amazing women behind them!

Why or what made you want to go: This is a long story and needs it’s own blog post.

How long will you be there: This is my least favorite one. I’ll be gone…for 15 days. I know. I know. Don’t even say it. I know it’s a long time. A long time to be away from my babies. I don’t like to think about it. I don’t want to talk about it.

Or the fact that I’ll miss Meet the Teacher Day (though secretly I’m Ok with this one as it’s the most stressful day at our school!). And I certainly do not want to talk about the fact I fly home the night of my kids’ first day of school (again, Mom of the Year right here).

There is a small village called My-Husband-Mother-In-Law-Dad-and-Mom that will be raising and taking care of my children in my absence. For that village, I am truly grateful. I am just hoping my kids do OK while I am away. Just typing this paragraph is making me cry. So I’ll stop. Let’s talk about something else.

MONKEYS! We get to eat breakfast with monkeys. True story. (Unless Brandi is lying to me.) Well, I guess we don’t really eat with them. I imagine they are like the pigeons we have here while dining out. Hovering around, trying to snatch nibbles. Now that I think about it like that, I’m not sure that sounds so fun. We’ll see.

Anyway, that’s all I got folks. I’ll know more when I get there. I’d love for you to come with me. Or at least follow along on this cray-cray adventure o’ mine.

You can check back here frequently or if you’d rather just open your email and see my updates, subscribe by putting your email in the little box in the upper right hand corner. My posts will pop up in your email. Easy. Done.

Or if you’re a ‘grammer (as in…INSTAgrammer), you can follow along in pictures. @AmberZaccagni is my username. You can also search the hashtags #AmberGoesToAfrica or #AmberInAfrica <— I like making up my own hashtags. It makes me feel important.

Twitter is @AmberZaccagni but I’m hardly over there.

Facebook is, well, it’s Facebook. Here’s my blog’s page over there.

Oh and follow @BeautyForAshesUganda on Instagram and also go like their Facebook page Facebook.com/BeautyForAshesUganda and follow the Twitter & Instagram hashtag #bfaUganda

5 days people. 5 days!!!! Lord, help me.

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