Posted in Great Initiatives, Inspiration, International Initiatives, People who inspire others, Work

JAMBO! Happy Independence Day to Kenya!

Deputy President William RutoJAMBO! and KARIBU! were my two favourite words in Kenya!  HELLO  and WELCOME.

This blog is specially dedicated to the beautiful people of Kenya to wish you all a Happy Independence Day!

During the ATA Conference, in November 2015, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto addressed the conference delegates and placed special emphasis on welcoming everyone ‘HOME’ because Kenya is known as the Cradle of Mankind. Kenya has the oldest human remains going back to 7 million year old from Turgen Hills, Baringo (oldest in Ethiopia = 4.5 million years ; S.Africa ca 3 million years, Tanzania = 2 million years.  Kenya has the longest and most complete record of human evolution (and possibly the link between humans and apes).  When Deputy President William Ruto welcomed us HOME we understood that Kenya could have very well been home to our ancestors.  It is home to  everyone.  Everyone is welcomed.

Everyone welcomed us, everywhere we went.  The beautiful smiles, warmth and welcoming presence left an imprint on my mind and spirit.

At several places we visited,  we were welcomed with the Maasai shuka, a traditional wear associated with the Masai people of East Africa.  These shukas are usually worn by the Masai morans which differenciates them from other communities.  We were greeted at the entrance where the Maasai shuka was wrapped around us.

IMAG4679 IMAG4684 IMAG4683

Kenyans take pride in their clothing and I loved the classic, well-tailored uniforms which staff wore at the various places we went to.  The faces are youth are prominent in the tourism sector and if I must say, they are very well-trained with highest level of service.

IMAG4722 IMAG4723

IMG_0589

IMG_0922 IMG_0404

Music and entertainment is a huge welcoming part of African culture.  The drumming, chanting, cultural performances were all spectacular.  I particularly enjoyed the fact that people of all ages and sizes from the local tribes and community were integrated in the various cultural shows that we attended. It is also a source of generating revenue for artists.

IMAG4764

IMG_0652

IMG_0585

IMAG4682

Happy Independence Day Kenya.

To continue promoting Kenya, we will be launching Gems of Kenya on Friday December 18th in Ottawa.  If you are a Kenyan, come out and see how you can work with us to promote Kenya.  Please see more details here.

Live your future now… do what truly matters!

Love,

Magdalene

Posted in Dreams come true, Health and Wellness, Inspiration, International Initiatives, Living from the soul

Dreams Do Come True – Highlights of our Trip to Magical Kenya

“Live in your dream. Refuse to wake up until it is completely over. Then dream again.”
Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom

IMAG4502“Come to Kenya while I am there.”  My friend Rosa Maria, who works in Kenya, encouraged me to visit while she was on holidays in Ottawa in December 2014. I browsed with great interest of her photos with wildlife on FB  and wish that I could be a part of it.  It seemed almost unreal to see the human beings so close to the wild side of nature.  Less than ten months later, I could not believe that I was actually in Nairobi with Rosa Maria!

The idea of going on a Safari became rooted in my mind way back in the 1990’s when my friend Aubrey Webson, who is a blind, would tell me of his amazing safari experiences.  When I met my partner, Wilson, we both shared that dream to visit Africa and to do a Safari.  The dream has been in the subconscious and conscious realm for the last decade.  This year, it inched closer towards reality when we actually made the time to visit a travel show and learned more about Africa.  The dream continued to expand in my imagination.

As if my magic, a series of events happened quite quickly this summer to inspire us even more to go to Africa.

In August 2015, Wilson and I attended a couple of conferences by Africa House, an organization within the New York University which promotes Africa.  It was an eye-opening conference for me.  Although the dream of going to Africa was alive in me, I must also say that I had my internal doubts due to the many other negative things which I had heard about Africa.  The poverty, the wars… it left a dark image in my mind. Africa was just one BIG place to me. After attending the conference, I had a better understanding of  Africa and the countries within Africa.

The speakers at the conferences painted a picture of excitement, hope, confidence, a rising nation, a growth rate of 6%, a youthful population, hospitable people, amazing wild life and a beautiful country. Best of all, we learnt that the 40th Annual Congress of the African Tourism Association was going to be held in Nairobi, Kenya. Wilson and I instantly decided that we were going to attend. One of the women whom I met at that conference, Valentina,  told me that she loved Africa and that her father fell in love with Kenya and went back to Kenya every year until he died.  She now goes to Kenya every year too and sometimes twice a year!

Just a few weeks before this, Wilson also met Jane Adam, managing of Expedition Adventures in Kenya, who encouraged him to visit Nairobi.  The two started discussions on forming ‘Gems of Africa’ a similar concept to Gems of Saint Lucia.

The dream started to reel into reality very quickly.  We received an invitation from  African Tourism Association to be speakers at the 40th Annual Congress of the ATA – a timely opportunity.  Within a couple of weeks, all the concerns we had about travelling to Africa melted away as every single detail fell in place cover the trip. Read more about the highlights of the ATA Conference.

What I experienced in Kenya far exceeded my expectations and erased many of the  negative perceptions I had about Africa and to be clear… I know now that Kenya is a unique country in Africa, with its own distinct characteristics.

I have always believed in the power of dreams and imagination.  When a dream like going to Africa becomes true, I remain speechless about the power of our minds.

Thin landrovere safari trips were amazing.   The wide expanses of lands and lakes were the greatest freedom. I enjoyed the enthusiasm of our colleagues as they clicked away with their camera and uttered expressions of amazement as they saw an animal for the first time.   I watched the wild life graze away peacefully and although we were safe in secured land rovers, being so close brought on this feeling of awe!

IMG_0123

My favourite moment was watching a giraffe strut down the road.  The majestic beauty and elegance of the this tall creature took my breath away.  It strutted past our land rover without a flinch for the humans who were all busy trying to photograph it.  It owned the land!

IMAG4604

 

IMAG4596

IMG_0881

IMAG4835

The water buffalo at Lake Nukuru

elephants at David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphan Trust

(The orphan elephants from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphan Trust, photo credit Andrea Papito, ATA)

IMAG4850

The Great  Rift Valley below

IMG_1044

IMG_1221

Hippos in Lake Crescent.

Look out for more about our experience in Kenya! Follow me my blog or like my FB Fan Page.

More post on Kenya

Join Gems of Saint Lucia and Mags Magazine Inspiration 2015!

Make Kenya your destination of choice in 2016 and we can help you get there!

When your soul speaks to your imagination… it is the beginning of creating a dream.

Live your future now… do what matters to your soul.

Love,

Magdalene

Posted in International Initiatives, Kenya, Leadership, Meet Ordinary People Doing Great Things!, Motivation, People who inspire others, Travel Inspiration, Women

Meeting with Mama Sarah Obama – Highlights of our trip to Magical Kenya

In November 2015, Wilson and I spent ten days in Magical Kenya where we attended the 40th World Congress of the Africa Tourism Association.  What we experienced was magical and because there were so many touching and inspirational moments, I  will be blogging over the next few days to give you a snapshot of moments which inspired me, especially as it relates to the theme of Mags Magazine.. ‘Live Your Future Now’.

Meeting the Mama Sarah Obama: 

IMAG4672

I met with Mama Sarah Obama, the only living grandparent of President Barack Obama, whose dream is to live her legacy to make sure that there is adequate educational resources to support underserved and at-risk youth in Kenya.  Although she herself is illiterate, she has spent her lifetime helping  orphans and impoverished families feed and educate their children. After years of feeding and clothing children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, Mama Sarah established her foundation with the goal of making a larger impact on their lives.

I met with six young women who attended her session at the conference, and asked them about the impact which Mama Sarah had on their lives.  Here is what they had to say:

“Our lives have changed a lot mostly because girls were denied that opportunity to attend education but through the Mama Sarah Obama Foundation, we have reached University level and we are grateful for Granny’s kindness and caring heart.”  Mercy Oyuongo

Isn’t this amazing!

IMG_0234

 

IMG_0233

What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Think of how your talents, skills and passion can make at least one small change to the lives of those around us… or who may be in a faraway land!

Live Your Future Now…  Follow me to see the next inspirational story from Kenya!

Love,

Magdalene

Travelling to Kenya?  Check Nature Expeditions… they offer a wide ranges of interesting safari trips to make your stay comfortable, exciting and inspiring.

Nature Expeditions

Sponsored by http://www.gemsofsaintlucia.com

Gems of Saint Lucia orig logo_high resolution

 

 

Posted in Beyond logic!, Great Initiatives, International Initiatives, Living with purpose, Meet Ordinary People Doing Great Things!, People who inspire others

Transformation through life’s most difficult challenges – how Marie Claudine, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide is using her tragic experience to help orphans in Rwanda

IMAG3821(Magdalene with Marie Claudine Mukamambana, New York)

Yesterday, I had the pleasure and privilege to meet with multiple award winner, Marie Claudine Mukamambana who lost her parents, sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, loved ones, friends, classmates, and fellow countrymen during the Rwandan Genocide, when she was only a teenager. What touched me the most was that she has used this tragedy to find meaning in life and to give back to the orphans of Rwanda through her non-for profit organization  Whydoiexisit.org.

Her Catholic faith inspired her to seek the answer to the question of KUKI NDIHO? (Why do I exist?-Pourquoi J’existe?). This question now serves as the name of her organization, which has an extensive fundraising program in New York, as well as a presence in Belgium and South Africa. The thousands of dollars raised thus far continue to support hundreds of orphans in Rwanda.  You can read more of Marie Claudine’s work on her website and also download her book – the Power of Social Media. She is also working on her second book, ‘Forgiveness:  A Transformation Power from Pain to a Joyful Lifestyle.’  Please do look up her website to read more of her work.

Over the years I have met several survivors of the Rwandan Genocide and who have shared their heartbreaking stories with me, long before I ever thought of blogging. I remember feeling emotionally paralyzed  by the first man shared his story and told me that he had no blood family left but was so grateful to the Canadian family who had accepted him as a refuge and had treated him with the greatest kindness he could have wished for. Although I knew of the genocide, it was impersonal to me until I met a real human being who was able to share his experience with me. At that particular time in my life, I was going through my own personal challenges but after listening to his story, I had much less sympathy for myself and started being more grateful for the opportunities I had to solve my problems and not lament over them.  This man who had lost everyone in his life,  found a way to accept and to be happy.  In comparison to what he had gone through, my problems were insignificant.

Sometimes the difficulties and challenges we go through in life can leave us broken with a great feeling of despair. When we meet people like Marie, who have risen above such horrific challenges and who still has love and joy in her life, it inspires us to do the little that we can do to uplift humanity and to find a way out of our own pain.

What is your deep sorrow?

  • Feeling that no one is listening to you?
  • Losing your job?
  • No money?
  • Lack of sleep?
  • A divorce?
  • No money to buy this great brand name bag?

How are you supporting life?  What are you grateful for in your life?

From my experience, I know that by helping others in whatever capacity I can, life blesses me bountifully and provides the tools, resources, inspiration and help which I need to heal my pain.  When one person is hurt, we all hurt.  When one person is healed, we are all healed.

TuneIn to those whispers of your heart and StepUp to do something which will truly add value to your earthly home.

Ref: http://www.whydoiexist.org/

Ref: http://www.borgenmagazine.com/10-facts-rwandan-genocide/

Love,

Magdalene

Posted in Family, Holiday, International Initiatives, St. Lucia

Imagine 3 complimentary nights at “Villa Isis” in Saint Lucia for US$10. A deal you cannot miss!

Today, my blog has reached 15,000 views over 89 countries.  To each of my readers, I want to say “Thank You” for your love, support and encouragement. To those of you who have taken time off to write and comment on articles, know that each of  your comments were read and appreciated.  Blogging has been therapeutic for me although in my newest adventure with http://www.gemsofsaintlucia.com. I have not been able to write much – but do look out for some exciting stuff soon!

Gems has an offer going on now, which I want to share with all my viewers because this may very well be your opportunity to visit our beautiful island of Saint Lucia and stay for 3 complimentary nights in lovely Villa Isis, which is located in of my very favourite spot in Saint Lucia – Marigot Bay! This is an opportunity for you, in whatever part of the world you are, to support our promotional drive for this amazing site.

Every once in a while, we have an urge to get away from our usual surroundings to an environment which will allow us to do the same things but with an added touch of comfort, simplicity or charm.  If it is your desire to get away, Villa Isis, located in one of Saint Lucia’s most touristic spots, may be your answer to experiencing a home away from home.

Villa Isis outside

The Directors at Gems of Saint Lucia are excited to welcome Villa Isis as its first “Gems Comfort” since its launch in Ottawa, Canada, on April 24, 2014. Villa Isis fits the definition of a “Gem” as a result of it being owned by a St. Lucian national. In addition, Villa Isis brings diversification to the “Gems” products which have focused on Cultural and Heritage Sites, ground transportation provided by Southern Taxi Association and hospitality at the Rex St. Lucian. The  membership deal is for one year.

Gems of Saint Lucia is offering our friends and friends of Gems a great opportunity to experience Vila Isis for three complimentary nights.

simple..fun…exciting…for US$10.00 only, you stand a chance of winning 3 complimentary room nights at Villa Isis…you will be contributing to the success of an entrepreneur who has the passion for hospitality.  Click in this link to purchase your chance to WIN: http://www.gemsofsaintlucia.com/#!destinations/cjg9

Succinctly nestled within the hilltop of Marigot Bay on ½ an acre of prime land, the paranomic scenes are awe-inspiring and breath-taking, with lush greenery and tropical fruit trees all around. With spacious surroundings and rooms, a Jacuzzi in the master suite, cable TV and internet access, Villa Isis is an ideal vacation spot for a single person or a family or the professional who wants to get away for a few days.

Villa isis overlooking trees

MarigotBayMedioImagesC4

 

bedroom

For the traveler who is mindful of a healthy lifestyle, ‘Villa Isis’ continues to accommodate your every wish by providing a complete gym, equipped with the latest technology in cardio.  Did someone say swimming?  Yes!  Get your hair wet, wade or plunge into the diamond shaped 16 X 10 foot pool.

TuneIn and StepUp to taking a chance on winning your three night complimentary visit.

Visit us at Gemsofsaintlucia.com.

Love,

Magdalene

 

 

Posted in Great Initiatives, International Initiatives, Leadership, Meet Ordinary People Doing Great Things!, St. Lucia, Women, Work

Meet the Director of Operations of Gems of Saint Lucia

 

_DSC9293 (2)

I love the endless synchronicities and magical things that happen to me in my life – most of them completely unplanned but somehow turns out perfectly.  One of those unplanned “things” was becoming the Director of Operations of Gems of Saint Lucia which has officially expanded  it’s services to Canada.  You can read more about Gems of Saint Lucia at http://www.gemsofsaintlucia.com/

How did this all happen?  I did not apply for the job. In fact I had no idea that this company existed until last August when I went to New York to spend a weekend with my dear  girlfriend Margot, who travelled from England to meet me.  Along this journey, I met with the CEO of Gems of Saint Lucia, Wilson Jn Baptiste, through an initial Facebook connection. From the very first meeting, I realized that we had some common interests in Saint Lucia (our homeland) and since then we have both been talking non-stop about how we can support the socio-economic development of Saint Lucia through tourism.

A few weeks ago, he made an official offer for me to join his company and to assume the role of Director of Operations.  I asked him why he chose me for that particular role.  His response was:

” You make things happen.  Gems needs someone who is committed, loyal and trusted in the implementation of the concept.  It is a new and innovative concept which require a person like yourself to bring in new energy, interpersonal respect, and sincere support for ensuring the success of Gems of Saint Lucia and the grassroots people of Saint Lucia through tourism.”

Over the last few years of living in Canada, I have searched for ways to make a more visible and sustainable contribution to the development of Saint Lucia. When I understood the Gems concept, I felt completely in alignment with it.  Through the  concept of “Marketing is everybody’s business”, I realized that everyone (Saint Lucians and  friends of Saint Lucia)  can easily play a role in the marketing of Saint Lucia – not only for sea, sand and sun but to expose our visitors from across the world to the rich cultural and heritage sites of Saint Lucia.  This in turn will have great economic benefits to the indigenous people on the island who own and operate cultural and heritage sites and products.

Wilson’s life journey in establishing himself as a professional in the tourism industry is an inspiration.  With 2 decades of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry, a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Tourism Administration and a Master’s degree in Tourism Management, from New York University, and a hard core entrepreneur with a brilliant mind and extraordinary ideas,  I have no reservations that his vision for Gems of Saint Lucia will be a success.  In fact he has been a true mentor to me in this new business venture.

My role as Director of Operations went into full force in April 2014. This role involves creating a smooth integration of Gems products and services to the public which encompasses support services such as IT, HR and finance as well as logistics, communications and working with the CEO to develop long term strategies for sustainability.

Our first order of business was to re-brand the company, develop a website and communication material for the public. Within a month of working quite intensely on this project, we  successfully launched Gems of Saint Lucia to the Canadian Public.   The concept was completely embraced by our network and we had a great official launch of the company on April 24th, 2014.  Please see press release here.

http://www.gemsofsaintlucia.com/#!blog/ctvq

_DSC9248

(Part of the audience at the launch – toasting to Gems of Saint Lucia)

Our invited guests were all amazing and represented 30 countries from across the world.

_DSC9216

What I have learnt from this experience is that by keeping an open mind, communicating effectively, being in alignment with a vision and pushing my boundaries, I  have once again, used my talents and strengths to expand myself… and in the process created new possibilities for supporting Saint Lucia.

_DSC9226

(Kevin Carroll, Managing Director of Innovation, Invest Ottawa with the CEO of Gems, Wilson Jn Baptise)

I would like to invite you to join me on this amazing adventure.  This blog reaches 82 countries across the world.  As you read,  from whatever part of the world you are, I want you to imagine the possibilities of visiting Saint Lucia and perhaps joining us on a Gemscapade ( A special trip planned to meet professionals from across the world) . You can show your support by liking our Facebook page and keeping in contact with us for future Gems opportunities.  You can also share this blog.

https://www.facebook.com/gemsofsaintlucia

TuneIn to the many talents you have. StepUp and showcase them to the world so that others can know what you are capable of. It is not all written on a resume.  Networking and being able to effectively communicate your interest and passion to others are very often the key to accessing hidden opportunities.

Love,

Magdalene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in International Initiatives, Leadership, Local Community Initiatives, Meet Ordinary People Doing Great Things!

How my small blog brought international exposure to St. Lucian athletes through the BBC World News…

DSC07717

 

It is heartwarming when small gestures done with love and passion blossoms into more significant opportunities.

In February, I profiled 10 St. Lucians on my blog whom I picked randomly and I knew were making a difference in the lives others. Two of these great St. Lucians were Martina and Martial Charlery who run the Rockets Club in St. Lucia, where they train young athletes to compete on the global stage.

Martina and Martial

A few days after the blog was released, I was thrilled to hear that a BBC correspondent had contacted them to do a documentary on the athletes.

“Good morning, Martial and I would like to thank you for the article that you wrote about us and the work that we are doing. It gives great pleasure seeing the athletes develop from one stage to the next. We very shocked when the BBC correspondent contacted us, seeking to do a short documentary on the club. The correspondent indicated that they read your blog and would like to do a short story on the athletes and what we are doing to prepare for the Commonwealth Youth Games which will be held in 2017 here in Saint Lucia.”  Martina Charlery

Please see the BBC documentary below – let us support our young athletes in St. Lucia.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-26818294

Nevin Kester Bryan

Martial and Martina are very excited and so are the athletes and the parents.  Since the documentary was first aired on BBC America, they  have received many calls from all over the world. The comments are very encouraging and the love and support is felt.  Most of the athletes have told us that people who meet them at school and on the streets, compliment them. Most of them have indicated that the comments have all been very encouraging, and very supportive.

“We never anticipated that such a great opportunity would have come our way, and we are truly thankful, and wish to share our deepest thanks to all the persons who continue to support our efforts.”  Martial Charlery

Sports participation and development in Saint Lucia, is an important part of our county’s development. Sport has the unique power to attract, mobilize and inspire. It is about inclusion, it teaches values such as respect for opponent, acceptance of rules and regulations, teamwork and fairness, all of which play an important aspect in helping the young athlete develop socially. Sports participation provides the children with the opportunity to express themselves, to share their opinions and ideas, to contribute their voices and become agents for change and contributing to a more peaceful society.

“The Government of St. Lucia  has seen the need and importance of sports and have taken a proactive role in ensuring that all schools have a sports programme with Physical Education  teachers at every school. Over the years we have seen greater participation and involvement. The major challenge is financing. Sponsorship for programmes such as ours have been a major challenge. For the athletes of the Rockets Athletic Club, participation involves not only the track performances, but their academic and social participation. It is our view that not all the athletes will become Olympians but some will become administrators and business owners. Thus,when a letter seeking sponsorship comes to them, they would be inclined to assist because of the experiences they had as a member of the club.”  Martina Charley

“We are grateful for the publicity that this opportunity has given us. The public now has a greater insight into what we do as a club, thus has a greater appreciation of the work and effort that the athletes are putting in. We hope that through this experience, more business owners and more of the private sector will play a greater role in providing the financial assistance in helping develop our athletes and thus making sports a bigger part of our daily lives. Scholarships, and funding for programmes such as camps, clinics, workshops, and cultural exchange programmes can and will help our athletes and our nation by extension.”  Martial Charlery

They  would like to see more financing for coaching and the inclusion of coaches in the schools at all levels of sports participation. The technical expertise they provide can improve on the performances by the athletes thus having a domino effect on the level of competition  they participate in.

Look out for the Youth Commonwealth Youth Games in 2017 in St. Lucia!

Please see the previous blog written about the Rockets Athletic Club

https://tuneinandstepup.com/2014/02/21/kudoos-to-this-lovely-st-lucian-couple-for-getting-our-young-athletes-to-compete-on-the-national-and-international-stage/

You can contact Rockets Athetic Club at rockets_slu@yahoo.com

Spread the good karma by sharing this blog! You can also FOLLOW the blog by subscribing to it (on the side bar) or LIKE our  FB page!

Contact me if you would like me profile your company or the work which you are doing. My blog currently reaches about 14,000 people across 87 countries.  You never know where great opportunities await you!

TunIn to the small deeds that you can do to make a difference in the lives of others.  StepUP…. with a little from each of us, we can indeed go a long way to making this planet a better place to live.

Love,

Magdalene