Upcoming trips are forming now, and we’d love to have you JOURNEYdeep with us. My first trip to Ethiopia turned me upside down. Every preconceived notion I had turned out inaccurate. I thought starvation would be awful to see, but it was worse than I imagined. I thought we would fly in on a dirt airstrip, but we flew into a beautiful international airport. I thought I would be doing great things for people in need, but instead I learned more from them than any help I could’ve offered.

That first trip still impacts me to this day. Having led multiple trips back to Africa since, I’ve had the privilege of seeing others have their first experience, and it never gets old. All African Leadership trips are led by someone like me who has visited before and knows all the ins and outs of international travel. Teams are given the opportunity to define parts of their activity itinerary during the day and enjoy dinner and discussions together in the evenings, creating a comfortable environment and building relationships that will last for years to come. You’ll come home from your first trip ready for the next, much like I did.

After one of my trips, I wrote a journal entry to sum up my time on the ground. Here is an excerpt from it that still resonates deeply with me:

“I'm not saying that Africa does not need our efforts. It absolutely does need our partnership. But for me, I've come to understand that I NEED AFRICA MORE THAN AFRICA NEEDS ME. Why? Because it is Africa that has taught me that possessions in my hands will never be as valuable as peace in my heart. I've learned that I don't need what I have and that I have what I need. These are just a few of this continent's many lessons. I came here to serve and yet I've found that I have so much to learn, and Africa, with all its need, has much to teach me.”

Barrett Ward Chief Experience Officer | African Leadership