View of Ngorongoro Crater, the largest intact, inactive and unfilled volcanic caldera in the world.

Scaling: the walls of a crater / my comfort zone

Mambo vipi? (What’s up?)

There’s something about jolting up a 2,000 foot crater wall at 40 mph while standing in a safari jeep, smiling uncontrollably because it’s so loud and windy and dusty and breathtaking and you just passed some baboons … it makes you wonder at this crazy world we all inhabit.

This past week has been a whirlwind both personally and professionally. Sunny, Chyna and I worked all day last Thursday to draw out all of the opportunities we had discovered that could help Vision for Youth — from financial sustainability to fundraising to HR to organizational governance and much more — and we categorized them into initiatives. Finally, we created a logic map that told us in order to get to Z deliverable, we had to go through W, X and Y.

Chyna and me hard at work (Sunny was there too)!

On Friday, we presented our recommendations to V4Y leadership — with the caveat that we could NOT do everything. We updated our original scope of work, and everyone bought in to it. Poa sana! (Very cool!)

Now, to the stuff you came here to see: yes, I saw bunches of wild animals this weekend on safari!

The list is very long, but it includes: wildebeest, cape buffalo, Thomson’s gazelle, jackals, zebra, lions, buzzards, cranes, baboons, hippos, flamingos, Grant’s gazelle, pelicans, hyenas, dik-dik, twiga (giraffes), a black rhino, ostrich, Vervet monkeys and African elephants. And a leopard’s tail! Some of these were very far away — others, very close.

We really covered a lot of ground through Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater. The crater was fantastic — its own little 100 square mile world with resident animal populations and Maasai villages on the upper slopes.

This was not a zoo. Spotting animals wasn’t easy, and often we needed binoculars to see them, but there is something much more satisfying seeing them in their natural habitat. I am very thankful for the conservationists and native tribes who have protected and nurtured this land to keep as much as we have today.

Unlike the animals that are protected by the round mountain walls of Ngorongoro, I think it’s important that us humans scale our walls and get out of our comfort zones every now and then.

Our safari jeep with Allegra, Chyna, Nic and myself (it’s windy!)

This does not mean everyone has to travel across the world. What I DO mean though is to stretch ourselves.

This could be building a marketing strategy for an entire organization in Arusha or taking a walk around the block in your neighborhood or fighting for a cause you believe in even when it’s not easy.

It could be scary on the way up — or thrilling — but either way, it will be very much worth it.

Tuende twiga! (Let’s go giraffe!)