Rainbow Ridge is a demonstration site of sustainability and a home which sits in a stunning location under Mount Kilimanjaro and cares for around thirty local orphans.
It provides work for around ten local ‘Mummas’ who live-in on a rotational basis and care for the little souls residing there as their own. The women must have or had children of their own to be considered for these important roles. I discovered to my absolute delight that every year at Christmas the children go to the family homes of these special women to celebrate the festive holiday if there is no one from the children’s own tribe or village who can take them and provide a holiday as such.
I anticipated my trip with a mixture of excitement and anxiety…the destination felt a long way from home and the culture very different to any I had experienced to date.
The yoga offered as part of the experience and the musical component that we would be bringing to the children along with the opportunity to serve a community outside of my own formed the basis of my decision to be part of something that I viewed as being extra special in terms of charity work.
At my age, I know well that to give is to receive but nothing prepared me for what I actually received as a result of my decision to give 10 days of my life over to serve this small African community. The joy on those beautiful faces each day as we rocked up to ‘work’ will stay with me for the rest of my life and the mischief the children finally had the energy to indulge in at times after being so sick, scared, and alone was something that maybe only a mother who has nursed her own children through illness and life’s up and downs can appreciate…THAT warmed the recesses of my heart.
We laughed, joked, sang, danced, cried and achieved good things during this very precious time. Eye contact, raw emotion and tone of voice traversed the lack of a common language. Broken English, bad Swahili, music, song and dance with a big dollop of humour from both sides got us all where we needed to be every time…The soul connections between our group and the children through the music, the yoga and the care were awesome.
Whatever time of day I looked around during our time at the Ridge I saw others in our group connecting with the children as part of introducing yoga and music to their world. Watching the little ones like Estella’s attempt English and little Elisha doing his best ever ‘live’ downward dog impersonation bringing absolute delight to his friends and yoga instructors.
I treasure another personal moment when I went and sat out on the patio area during a setting up period for a group activity and decided to play some of my own music.
The mumma’s rostered on that day along with a couple of the young men working on the permaculture farm called out “Marley Bob!” … we shared a fun half an hour laughing and dancing together while singing along to universal truths with Marley Bob….!
The leaving was very difficult for us and I often muse on how quickly my idea of home altered…what seemed so foreign in the beginning very quickly became a touchstone of what home really is…they say home is where the heart is and four months on my heart remains in Africa with a new family I can’t wait to introduce to my own back here in Australia. My parting gift were knitted rainbow beanies for the Rainbow ridge children which they all loved.
Thank you Yoga Travel Company and Communities Assist for the rewarding chance of a lifetime to do a little something that made such a difference to the children in your care. I am reminded of something I read a while back.
“Just one step. Just one mile…Just one dollar. Just one kiss. Just one person”
When we look at life through the lens of ‘one’ everything becomes that much more attainable.
If you are one who has been lucky in life and wish to share something of what you have, or if you are one who has not been lucky and wish to do something that will fill you up. If you are one who knows love and has some to spare or maybe you don’t know love and wish for some now, I urge you join with us and support this wonderful charity or better still give yourself the gift of a lifetime and go and experience something profoundly real.
I was inspired to witness firsthand the selfless service of all involved with Communities Assist and I will stay involved and support your efforts in Africa going forward…it is a noble and worthy cause and your approach of empowerment and education from the ground up rather than a band aid solution appeals to my wider belief in sustainable global communities for all.