Micato Musings


Posts Tagged ‘voluntourism’

One for One Strikes a Chord for Canadian Woman’s Magazine

  • May 19th 2011

Of all the great things we get to do every day – scout for hidden gems of lodges in the bush, find new ways to deepen our definition of the word luxury, help people create the adventures of their dreams – our One for One Commitment tops the list. It’s simple: for every safari we sell, we send one African child to school.

We’re thrilled when our passion for educating children ignites a similar passion in others, so you can imagine our delight when we learned that Chatelaine (one of Canada’s leading women’s magazines), was inspired to write about our One for One programme in the Travel section of their most recent issue.

The travel destination of this particular issue was Kenya, so it is not surprising to see Micato Safaris featured – it is, after all, our home. The feature mentions our devotion to luxury, attention to detail, and our hot-air balloon safaris that end in champagne breakfasts. But the focus is on giving back, not just with One for One, but also through the efforts of our nonprofit arm, AmericaShare, and the kind and generous gifts of some of our travellers.

Chatelaine quotes our founder Felix Pinto, saying: “Tourists come to Africa for the animals, but it’s the people they remember when they leave.”

They often do more than just remember, and Chatelaine pointed out two of our favorite examples of selfless generosity: the $100,000 gift from one couple that allowed us to build the Harambee Community Centre in the Mukuru slum, and the young boy who donated all his Bar Mitzvah money – enough to build a basketball court for the Mukuru children!

We are very often humbled by the generosity of our guests, and we appreciate Chatelaine for illustrating so well all the good that they do. We all go on safari hoping to return with photos of lions, zebras and elephants, but more and more of our guests seem to come home with even more – a dedication to a brighter future for African children. We’re overjoyed to be able to help.

Read the full Chatelaine article here.

Crystal Cruise Luxury Meets Largesse in the Village of Lengala

  • April 26th 2011

Guests on a Crystal Serenity Cruise are used to luxury – sumptuous meals, elegant rooms, and impeccable service. This year Micato Safaris worked with Crystal Cruises in Sri Lanka to offer guests something a little different: a chance to get their hands a little dirty, make some friends, and give back. They jumped at the chance.

A Crystal Cruise guest helps to beautify the Lengala Village School

On March 25th, when docked at Colombo, an eager group of eighteen Crystal Cruise guests boarded a bus for the village of Lengala, in order to volunteer under the auspices of Sarvodaya (a Sri Lankan humanitarian movement). Upon arrival, they were presented with a traditional tea with all of the fixings. Then, it was time to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

Using supplies that the guests had funded through Sarvodaya prior to the trip, they began work painting the Home Science unit, the main hall and the library of the Lengala Village School. As they were painting, the locals brought them fresh coconut juice, and the village children couldn’t help but be a delight to the guests, laughing and chatting away.

After the day’s work was done, the children asked the guests for their addresses, so that they could write them and become their pen pals. To show their thanks, the children performed a beautiful and unexpected dance for the guests, and the principal of the school expressed his heartfelt gratitude. The village saw them off smiling.

Newfound friends in far-flung places

Departing reluctantly, the guests returned to the ship glowing with the knowledge that they had made a difference in the lives of their wonderful new friends, thanks to the seamless work between Crystal Cruises and Sarvodaya, all facilitated by Micato Safaris.

This experience of voluntourism gave something special back to the guests and the Sri Lankan locals alike, something that will be thought of often, whether as a reminiscence upon entering a paint store or a school, or the receipt of a letter from a young pen pal, with a Sri Lankan postmark. The length of a trip abroad is finite, but the memories of new friends and good deeds done can last a lifetime.

Triptophan?

  • December 3rd 2009

It happened this week:  a sudden spike in brochure requests and calls had us wondering if the Holiday Turkey Effect goes beyond mere post-Thanksgiving sleepiness.  Could it be that it awakens a desire to travel?

A closer look revealed something even better.  The holiday elves at Bing featured Travel+Leisure’s recent article “15 Life-Changing Trips” that highlighted Micato’s popular tree-planting initiative—a favourite with guests.  Plus, we have other ways that travellers can make a difference, even before they set foot in Kenya.  Thoughtful ways to assist include donating a book to the new library we’re building in one of Kenya’s most impoverished areas—with a $10 donation.  Or for something with a really big impact, sponsor an orphaned child to attend boarding school for a year (or more!).  Micato’s AmericaShare foundation offers a number of opportunities to join our work, and at costs that fit every holiday budget.  Read about How We Give Back or visit AmericaShare to learn more.

A wonderful start to the holiday season— Travel+Leisure and Bing’s mentions of Micato’s volunteer opportunities had our phones lit up like a Christmas tree!