What an amazing adventure we had in Canada this year! And getting all four of us there was an epic journey in and of itself.
Shirley and I decided to bring along two of our superb drivers, to help spice up the information sessions, and for them to enjoy Canada and culture with our family and friends. Simon and Jeremiah were so excited, but there were big gut checks when it took a whopping 5 months to get Jeremiah’s passport, leaving only 4 weeks to apply for the two visitor visas. So, with our hearts in our throats, Shirley made a quick trip to Dar es Salaam with the guys. Somehow we got the visas in 2 weeks! Oh joy unspeakable (especially since we had already advertised with them and purchased their air tickets).
We spent 6 weeks trotting across Canada in April and May – well, mostly flying (5 times) and a fair bit of driving – visiting 9 major city centres to promote Dashir Lodge & Safaris: Oakville, Ottawa, Langley, Kelowna, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Winnipeg. A special thanks to the kind folks (and hotels) who provided a bed and breakfast, and cheered us on as we moved about.
Travel, Cold, and Capuccinos
Simon and Jeremiah were taken with the breadth and width of Canada, the nice cars, the ease of business transactions and transportation (e.g. renting a car at the airport and driving away within 15 minutes), and the cold! – a few snowy days, a snowball fight, and snowman building. Alas, if only they had come in January. Starbucks was a frequent stop – cappuccino and lemon loaf, especially for Jeremiah and Shirley (the spenders!).
Homelessness and Winnipeg Harvest
Often asked, “What surprises you about Canada?” S & J often mentioned the hardships people talked about in the work force, and the homeless people they encountered in a few cities. They never thought people could be without a home in a prosperous country like Canada. CEO Keren Taylor-Hughes took us on an inspiring tour of Winnipeg Harvest – a wonderful, volunteer food bank that helps many communities and families. As former Winnipeggers, we are delighted and excited to donate a safari trip for four at their 2019 Empty Bowl Celebrity Auction fundraiser in October. Check it out!
We had a great time at our 10 info sessions – invigorating and exhausting all at the same time! Of special note, were happy “reunions” with 190, yes, 190!, former guests (out of 144 safaris provided till then). They came out to say hi, catch up, and relive their Tanzanian adventure. In total, we met with 751 friendly folks (almost half from our hometown of Winnipeg). For us four, it was so heart-warming and encouraging see and feel the support and friendship in our growing Dashir community. Asante sana! Thank you very much!
We did three radio interviews: Toronto, Edmonton, and Winnipeg. The guys were pretty nervous but still did a great job. It did help that Jeremiah was a radio personality in his former life in Tanzania – Brother Jerry! Listen to two of the radio interviews below.
We are developing several videos to provide an insight into a “trip-of-a-lifetime” with Dashir in Tanzania. Thanks to Lisa and her team at BRD Agency in Winnipeg for their great work in helping us get the word out, and working on the videos and other productions. Check out our info session montage.
Besides the info sessions, we enjoyed time as sightseers: Niagara Falls and a vineyard, CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium (and then getting stuck in traffic before a Leaf’s playoff game), Ottawa Parliament and Rideau Canal, Stanley Park Seawall, West Edmonton Mall ice skating and bowling, Winnipeg polar bears and bison, walleye fishing, and more. …. Special thanks to the kind folks who facilitated outings for us.
A special highlight for Simon and Jeremiah, was an Easter visit to a larger church in Ontario, with full worship band, drama, and inspiring teaching. They thought it was quite funny that each of the 3 morning services was timed to the minute with a clock on the balcony facing the stage; quite different from the lengthier services they are used to in Tanzania. Other highlights included shopping and driving a John Deere tractor.
Family and Friends
Finally, we spent rich moments enjoying a meal and conversation with family and friends. Simon and Jeremiah were treated royally to many Canadian delicacies such as barbeque salmon, roast pork ribs, borscht, perogies (not a hit :)) and farmer sausage, pan-fried walleye, and of course bread with almost every meal! We even hit some junk food joints. McDonald’s in Hamilton was a hit – ordering on a touch screen and then having the meal brought to our table!
So how shall we top this next year? Hmm…. not sure. We might need a rest! One thing is for sure – we love to connect with people in person and then host them with the beauty and wonder of our beloved Tanzania.
If you or others you know are interested in a dream African vacation on a personal level, we still have space this year 2019. Next year 2020 is filling up fast, especially February, but there is still space available in January and March, as well as June to December (closed April 1 to June 9).
Have a great day! And drop us an email to say hi, or if you’d like to talk about planning a safari adventure of a lifetime.
Darryl and Shirley, Simon and Jeremiah, and our Dashir Family.