Toastmaster International is truly a respected world-wide institution helping people in many countries to become inspiring communicators and leaders. In any city, town, or village near you, there are organized clubs offering the chance for individuals to use their voice. I often tell people “Toastmasters is like going to a local fitness center to train and perfect your voice.”
Active club members stay united by demonstrating their willingness to attend each scheduled meeting and participate in various roles offered to them. At South Cobb Toastmasters in Mableton, Georgia, we recently celebrated our club’s 15th year and as a group, we wanted to band together and take an excursion to Kenya, Africa. To ensure everyone had time to save money, receive time off from work and prepare our families for this experience, we spent two years planning for the journey.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve traveled to the “Motherland” many times escorting others in doing humanitarian work in remote and less traveled places. It was an honor to invite my fellow Toastmasters into the professional work that I love most. A quote from a travel journalist, book author and photographer named Jeff Greenwald reminds me of this special travel invitation: “Sharing a bit of yourself, opening a window into your own world, is a Good Place to Begin.”
In the two years of planning, there were new lessons for all:
- This adventure drew us closer – some had the fear of flying for long periods of time; some had never been to another continent; some didn’t know much about the culture of where we were going. As we intimately and openly shared these concerns, others would edify or support one another – chiseling off the stress of international travel.
- This adventure opened our senses of the world – too often we can easily open up our computers/laptops and thoroughly read details of a country, its people and culture. That may be a great thing to do, BUT it doesn’t give real justice. An adventurer need to feel and embrace the untimely breeze of a different place; an adventurer need to unexpectedly slip into the distinct aromas of new surroundings; an adventurer will need to become a food connoisseur and appreciate unexplainable tastes of a place; and an adventurer opens kindship conversations in new places.
- This adventure improves our global understandings – the world becomes much smaller when you explore other cultures and places. A person who often visits and spends time in other places will see the world in multiple perspectives. A person will also reflect upon their position in a global society. Our group experienced a great deal of engaging with the beautiful people of Kenya.
Of our leisure travel experience in Kenya, we took time to attend a Toastmaster club meeting! The Nairobi Toastmaster Club held its bi-weekly meeting the same week we were enjoying the downtown sites of Nairobi. Under the leadership of Margaret Njoroge, Club President, she and her members graciously welcomed us. Prior to the start of the club meeting, we and their members happily united in true fashion to serve in various meeting roles!
The club meeting experience in Kenya ignited our ability to share and learn ways to build comraderies and new friendships. As we were impressed with the professional meeting culture, they were impressed with our enthusiasm to be there! This made long-lasting memories that everyone will never forget.
From delightful hotel staff members, people we met throughout the city, tour drivers, to young walking tour guides and friendly street vendors, the created synergy of global connectedness stirred our hearts and minds. Every minute on the ground, each person within our group beautifully blossomed in their own way; discovering a new sense of themselves and who they are – a new sparkle of life emerged.
After our extraordinary travels of Kenya, South Cobb Toastmaster members were ignited and eager to share their journeys through prepared speeches back at home in the United States. Will we take another global group adventure in the near future? I do hope so!
Let get out there people and do some good!