Testimonials From Previous Travellers
Phillippe and Martine
“A very, very unique experience with a lot of emotions, helping us understand the needs and wants of the needy Swazi people. One thing is to contribute from our cozy homes, another thing is to actually participate in their daily lives and contribute also from our soul. Taking into consideration the complexities of organizing such a trip Jacaranda Journeys have done an admirable job. “
By Tanya Loretto
Traveler to eSwatini
A Visit to an Orphanage
Small brown skinned bodies with large brown eyes
Meet us as we drive across the dirt of the orphanage yard.
Their hugs for us foreigners
Feel strange, sad.
Barefoot they gather around us
Hoping for something that we are not capable of giving.
We have brought fresh fruit,
That they eat slowly, hungrily
And a few toy cars.
I struggle to breathe
From the melancholy of the space
And the obvious lack of medical care.
My mind wanders as I watch them play a skipping game,
Their voices chanting rhythmically
As the recycled plastic bag skipping rope hits the dirt.
My reverie is broken as tiny ones line up with the others to dance,
Faces come alive briefly,
As their bodies move in familiar patterns.
Our mood is lifted and we feel able to move on,
Back to our lives of privilege,
Hearts awakened and forever changed,
By our visit with these youngsters,
With small brown bodies and large brown eyes.
“You are a dream guide/leader, I loved every portion of the trip. “
“Your attention to detail, passion to help others, empathy and flexibility helped to make this a trip of a lifetime. It was well beyond my expectations and we have you to thank for that. Your good nature and great sense of humour where an added bonus! I think I can speak for the group to say you inspired each one of us to do our best to make their lives a little bit brighter. There is so much to process about our experience at the halfway house and I hope to return one day with my daughter. Feeling very grateful for this journey and getting to know you better. “
“The trip was thoughtfully planned. It was an interesting view on so many levels and truly leaves one wondering what is possible in the future! I have complete faith in your initiatives, you are thoroughly realistic and visionary and I am reminded about Barack Obama’s speech in Montreal where he references “active citizenry”. You have provided us as your guests and workforce to be part of “active citizenry“. “
“Everyone has been asking me and my current answer is that it was more than I imagined and that I wish I could go back tomorrow! Seriously Pam you provided a chance of a life time to see a part of the world I was only able to dream about and gave me the opportunity to open in myself something that has been missing maybe for a while. I loved every moment of the trip with different degrees of engagement, understanding and learning. My hope is that I will be able to go with you again and hopefully with more of my family.”
Head of school for Brentwood College, 2016
From March ’16 Service Trip for Brentwood College School, BC, Canada
Thank you for all of your work both pre, during and post Swazikids’ service trip with our Brentwood Students. Your attention to every last detail created a magical and authentic experience for them. I appreciate your efforts and look forward to thanking you in person.
You’re a star and the impact you made of these Brentonians will last a lifetime.”
In awe, Bud
Regional Dean North Okanagan
Okanagan College, 2013
“The trip to Swaziland in 2012 was amazing. Under Pam’s incredible time management and organizational skills, we visited a number of different aid projects that her NGO is sponsoring (schools, orphanages, micro-loan projects, community centers), saw the beautiful countryside as we travel to the projects, went on a safari, hiked in the protected forest/savannah park that was full of zebras, antelope, hippos, etc. We met and interacted with many of local people, saw local dancing and visited markets and businesses selling all sorts of Swaziland art. Accommodations were great and we never felt at risk or had any security issues. Pam was a fabulous host, knew her way around all sorts of interesting situations. Our visit was one we could talk about for years. It was a privilege to be invited – this was one of my favourite all time trips!”
Travel Adventurer, 2016
“I had the privilege of participating as a donor participant on one of Pam’s trips to Swaziland. I have traveled extensively in remote places, in harsh conditions, and in dangerous places. Pam’s ability to organize everything with seamless efficiency made the trip stress free. If you’re looking for a great off the beaten path experience, with the right balance of cultural exposure, adventure and creature comfort- look no further than Pam. Swaziland with Pam ranks right up there as one of the best things I have done in my life. The trip was fantastic!”
Victoria, BC, 2014
“Sean and I felt that our trip to Swazi with you was the most unforgettable trip either of us have ever been on. Your familiarity with the country and people made it so easy for us to navigate and enjoy our experience there. As a woman, I always have some concerns with safety when travelling somewhere so unfamiliar to me, but knowing the extent of your personal connections with every location we visited put me completely at ease. Anyone considering a trip to Swaziland to both visit and lend their time to one of the amazing charities, halfway homes or collectives you introduced us to is truly in for an amazing, fulfilling experience.”
VP of Demcon Concrete, 2016
“I have had the pleasure of knowing Pam Carlson personally for over 25 years and recently joined her on a big build adventure in Swaziland. There is much to talk about, but the core of Pam’s ongoing work was the visiting of numerous schools where she used her laptop
computer notes to individually interview and get updated on scores of students in the Swazi Kids system from the tailgate of her truck! Pam quickly assessed and acknowledged what was working and offered immediate and “no nonsense” solutions for what needed to be improved. I need to tell you here that as I witnessed some of the details of these children’s ordeals that there are shocking and heartbreaking circumstances that some of these children need to overcome just to get themselves and their younger siblings fed, sheltered and off to school each day to even have a shot at an education.
I am a continuing supporter of the Swazi Kids as I have witnessed firsthand Pam’s commitment and diligence to have every dollar possible count towards its intended purpose.”
Vernon, BC, 2013
“Traveling to Swaziland with Pam was the trip of a lifetime and I’m grateful to have had this opportunity. Pam was an amazing organizer and leader and showed us so many different layers of the country, the people and the projects. Something you wouldn’t find as an ordinary tourist or adventure traveler. We went to rural communities, spent time with local women and children, met with chiefs of tribes, had a one day safari (the giraffes were my favorite), stayed at a beautiful guesthouse and hiked through stunning landscapes. I felt safe and secure while still having a chance to explore beyond the norm. If you have this opportunity, jump at the chance!”
Grade 11 student
Brentwood College School, 2016
“Dear Mrs. Carlson,
Thank you so much for organizing such and amazing trip! It was truly one of the most experiential and rewarding trips of my life, that has inspired me to do more trips like this!”
Returned students from Brentwood College write
Based on the question:
“What would you tell someone who was considering participating in this trip?”
1) “I would say that the world beyond your home, the world beyond your
life is a big and unknown place. On this trip you will see and experience
things that may be shocking and hard, but you must use acceptance,
compassion and kindness with that world beyond, because we are all humans;
we are all equal and factors such as money, race and location do not
matter when it comes to love. Use the sad feelings about what you see and
let them drive your forward!”
2) “It’s worth it. It’s worth the travelling, the nerves, the bugs and
everything. The experience was priceless and life-altering.”
3) “This trip was extremely worth it and life-changing. If I had not gone
on this trip I would have likely not experienced that sort of work and
setting. Simply, I would say, Go!”
4) “Do it! Prepare for it to be intense, but incredibly challenging to the
way you think or are as a person.”