April 25, 2016
Meet Dianne Williams, a Voss Foundation supporter and one of the committee members for our sixth annual Women Helping Women Boston luncheon. Dianne took time to share with us why travel, Africa, water, and Women Helping Women are important to her.
My love for travel started when my husband’s career moved our family overseas to outside London in 1999. While living abroad for four years, I took advantage of the proximity to many different cultures and countries. I loved researching places to go, and was passionate to blend family travel with a bit of adventure and some educational value in hopes of creating more authentic experiences.
This was a time of eye-opening travel and cultural exposure, and I really enjoyed the process of researching and building a trip as much as going there. Many trips included a humanitarian aspect as well, from cooking for children at an orphanage in Thailand to bringing soccer equipment and schoolbooks to a rural village school in Ecuador. I will never forget watching some African children in a village touch with fascination my father-in-law’s hairy arms since it was so odd to them. When you step out of your element, it can really stir your soul about the world and the people you meet. It leaves such an amazing feeling inside to witness other cultures, learn about people’s lives, and be so warmly received. It’s a feeling that stays with you long after you return home.
There was always something significantly special about our travels to Africa, something that always tugged at my soul. It wasn’t just the excitement of seeing the looks on our boys’ faces when they saw leopards in trees, cheetahs race through the grass, and a pride of lionesses with their cubs. It was also witnessing the role of the women in different villages as well as how water shapes their lives. Whether it was watching the Maasai Mara women tirelessly build their homes from dung and mud or seeing other village women walk over a mile each day just to get their family’s bucket of water, there was something that resonated much deeper with me.
Upon returning to the USA, I continued my love for travel and cultural exposure and it led me to launch Africa Direct USA, a customized trip planning company to the African bush and beyond. Along with an established team based in South Africa, we craft memorable journeys based upon people’s different interests, styles, and budgets. Forgoing preset itineraries, our clients vary from families with young children to honeymooners, groups of couples to multi-generational families. Some trips have cultural exposure and humanitarian aspects as well.
This is my third year supporting Voss Foundation and my first year serving on the Women Helping Women Boston luncheon. My hope is to inspire more people to travel, to experience the wonder of Africa and the significance of bringing tourism dollars to these communities. By spreading the word about the importance of having access to clean water, improved hygiene, and sanitation, Voss will continue to make great strides bringing the earth’s basic necessity to more communities which, in turn, continues to empower the lives of African women. Water is “H2O,” or simply put, “Help 2 Others.”
We are so grateful to Dianne and all our supporters. Learn more about Women Helping Women, and click here to see the invitation and join Dianne and the rest of the Women Helping Women Boston committee at our luncheon on June 8th.