African Children's Choir

African Children’s Choir

Brings Hope to the Children of Uganda

 

From Egypt and Libya to Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, much of the African continent  has been in turmoil in recent years. But few nations have endured more tragedy than Uganda, which suffered at the tyrannical hands of Idi Amin back in the 1970s, and endured a civil war with Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army from the mid-‘80s until a few years ago. Thousands were murdered, millions were displaced, and many children were either orphaned or forced to become soldiers along the way.

 

It was into this war-torn Uganda that Canadian Ray Barnett first ventured on a humanitarian mission in 1984. When he stopped to give a young boy a ride from his destroyed village to a safer one, the lad began singing en route. His uplifting song gave Barnett the idea to start the African Childrens Choir, which (under the umbrella of its parent organization, the Music For Life Institute) gives impoverished and orphaned  African kids ages 7 to 12 a chance to get an education and, ultimately, give back to their community.

 

Nearly 30 years later, the choir has launched 40 North American tours, released several albums, performed everywhere from London’s Royal Albert Hall to American Idol, and worked with icons ranging from Sir Paul McCartney and Mariah Carey to Josh Groban and Chris Daughtry. More importantly, it has helped thousands of kids from troubled countries like Uganda, Rwanda and Sudan to live healthy, happy, productive lives by housing and funding their education from elementary school through college.

 

One of those children, Dorothy Nabwami (who first toured with the choir in 1997), is now a 27-year-old who is chaperoning the ACC performers on their current tour. Nabwami was gracious enough to speak with us about her native Uganda, how the choir changed her life, and why she put her career in social work on hold to become a chaperone.

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Close up of Devil’s Bath, New Zealand

Close up of Devil’s Bath, photo via Wanderlusters

Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions in New Zealand

 

(The following is a guest post from Charli Moore of Wanderlusters. Follow her adventures with her photographer partner, Ben, via Facebook and Twitter. If you’re a blogger interested in guest posting on GGT, please email Editor-In-Chief Bret Love at GreenGlobalTravel@gmail.com.)

 

The dynamic geology of New Zealand has long been a source of fascination for scientists. Straddling a tectonic fault line, the terrain which forms this country is peppered with volcanic, geothermal and seismic activity.

 

Once part of a much larger super-continent, New Zealand is the only terrestrial evidence of “Zelandia,” a predominantly submerged continent around half the size of neighbouring Australia. While New Zealand covers a relatively small proportion of this continental fragment, it hosts a varied array of ecosystems which have been moulded by the crushing forces of the colliding tectonic plates below.

 

New Zealand residents and visitors have a veritable natural playground on their doorstep. From the sub-tropical rainforests of the far north to the alpine ranges and vast glacial lakes in the south, there’s an eco-adventure waiting at almost every turn. With so much on offer, I’ve narrowed down some of my favorite ecotourism destinations in New Zealand, each offering a unique insight into the history of this country’s legendary landscapes.

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Cataloochee Valley Seen From a Scenic Overlook

Cataloochee Valley Seen From a Scenic Overlook

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Exploring Cataloochee Valley

 

Created in 1934 and encompassing 522,419 acres, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in America, attracting 9 million travelers each year. People come from miles around to camp, fish, hike the Appalachian Trailand take in stellar views from the summit of Clingman’s Dome (the park’s highest point at 6,643 feet). We didn’t do any of these things during our brief visit, but we had several other reasons to be excited.

 

The park was the first stop on our family’s 8-day Spring Break road trip, which took us from Atlanta to Asheville, and then on to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. It was the first time all three of us had traveled together since the previous summer, and also the first time meeting and hanging out with our good friends Cristina and Hal Brindley from Travel For Wildlife, who’d been to the park many times before.

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Lek Chailert, the Elephant Whisperer of Elephant Nature Park

Interview With Lek Chailert

The Elephant Whisperer of Elephant Nature Park

 

I’ve been a huge fan of elephants all my life, probably dating back to watching The Jungle Book as a boy. Coming face-to-face with a massive bull on safari in South Africa only increased my respect for these majestic creatures. But, as anyone with an interest in wildlife conservation knows, elephants are becoming increasingly endangered, poached for their ivory in Africa and forced into back-breaking labor throughout Asia.

 

Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, who was born in the remote mountain community of Baan Lao in Northern Thailand in 1962, is an elephant lover who decided to do something about it. After graduating from Chiang Mai University, she opened the 250-acre Elephant Nature Park as a sanctuary for distressed elephants from all over Thailand.  The park’s herd includes disabled, orphaned and blind elephants of all ages, many of which have been rescued from the abusive training involved in the logging, tourism and street begging industries.

 

We became interested in her work with ENP and Save Elephant Foundation last year, when our friend Diana from D Travels ‘Round went to work at the park. After seeing all of the amazing work Lek and her team of volunteers are doing to protect Asian elephants, a trip to Thailand quickly rose to the top of our 2013 Dream Trip List. Though the trip is still in the planning stages for now, we were delighted to get a chance to talk to Lek about her life’s mission, why travelers shouldn’t ride elephants or pay for elephant paintings, and the challenges facing wildlife conservation in Asia.

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Living the Dream in Tahiti

Thoughts on Travel Blogging, Suicide & Living The Dream

 

Although we had 103 friends in common, were members of the same travel blogging group on Facebook, and had commented on each other’s posts in the past, I didn’t know Anita Mac personally. But still I was shocked and saddened yesterday when our mutual friend Robert Schrader revealed that the blogger behind Travel Destination Bucket List had taken her own life at the age of 43.

 

Anita seemed like a lot of our travel blogging friends– outgoing, adventurous, and happy. Her Facebook page was filled with enthusiastic posts about weekend plans and gorgeous photos of food, friends and fun on the road. As Robert said, her mission was “to inspire and empower people to live their dreams.” On the surface, she seemed to be succeeding. But, as “What do you do with a broken heart?” (her final post, on August 22) revealed, Anita struggled with private pain that ultimately tore her life apart.

 

I’ve been struggling to come to grips with her passing for 24 hours now, trying to figure out why the suicide of a person I barely knew upset me so much. Her death led me to re-examine this industry we’ve become a part of, questioning why we blog about our travels and wondering about “the dream” we, as a community, encourage our readers to live.

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Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

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Proud members of: The International Ecotourism Society

As Seen In:

Destinations We’ve Covered:

• AFRICA
Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

 
• ANTARCTICA
How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
 
• ASIA
India- Ranthambhore National Park
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
 
• AUSTRALIA/OCEANIA
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities

 

• NORTH AMERICA
CANADA
Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

UNITED STATES
America’s Best Volcanoes
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

MEXICO
Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba
 
• CARIBBEAN