My parents always talked about going to Africa on safari. My dad read about the Maasai warriors in school and dreamed of meeting them in person. In 2011, concerned that I couldn’t wait forever, I scraped together all my money and took them to Tanzania. The safari was amazing - we saw three of the big 5, more lions than you can shake a stick at, and visited a Maasai village. The safari lodges were inspirational and the people were so welcoming and kind, and my parents loved it.
Three years later, Jane Goodall came to Tulsa and stopped by the DoubleShot for coffee. I had the pleasure to sit down and chat with her for an hour, mostly about a coffee project her Institute was a part of in Tanzania. A group called Sustainable Harvest went and talked to farmers about ways to increase their production, in order to encourage them to not encroach any more into the forest where chimpanzees make their home. I was excited to add my part and help these farmers improve their quality and create unique coffees.
I had visions of a new business plan, working with the Jane Goodall Institute to certify farms in Tanzania and all around the world that were taking measures to protect wildlife. Helping JGI market excellent coffees and create a name in the specialty coffee industry as a sign of quality as well as sustainability. I had dreams of working with celebrities who would endorse the coffee and the program. Of bringing experimental processes and new coffee varieties to the farms, creating a new category of coffees.
And the next day, my dad died. The evening after I met Jane, my dad and I were texting back and forth about it, and he was equally excited. He loved Tanzania. He listened to a podcast episode I had just published with field recordings from a trip to Colorado, dedicating a couple 14ers I climbed for him. And he texted, "That climb wore me out too."
Years have passed, but the dream isn't dead. Other projects have taken priority, and the DoubleShot has grown in a lot of different directions. But Tanzania is still on my mind. Besides, my dad said he wanted his ashes scattered on top of Mount Kilimanjaro. So I have to go again someday.
In the mean time, here are some photos I took on the 2011 safari.