Posts From June 2013

If An African Safari Is On Your Bucket List Do It Now!

We returned from our safari on June 11, 2013.  I am the Director of an Animal Shelter in New York and this trip was my life’s dream.  I am very thankful to Sharon and Africa Dream Safari for making that dream come true.  The attention to detail was impressive.  The planning packet and handbook provided was extremely helpful.

Our adventure started in Arusha with a short flight to Western Serengeti.   We decided to combine tented camps and lodges on our journey and each was more comfortable and amazing than the next.  We were met at each destination with a warm towel and cool drink.  Who could ask for more!  BUT there was oh so much more.  The food was extraordinary and the staff made you feel like family.

Now, the wildlife!  Words really can’t describe seeing animals living free in their natural environment.  We were able to see elephant families travel together, lions and their cubs play, hippos graze and swim, alligator’s fish and even what I labeled a baboon parade.  The birds were spectacular in colors, sizes and numbers.  The great migration of wildebeest and zebra should be one of the wonders of the world.  A special moment was having lunch in our truck alongside a lone Cheetah.  She gave us the opportunity to share her world.  We saw numerous youngsters – elephants, lions, hippos, giraffes, zebra, water buffalo and wildebeest.

It seemed like a dream BUT I have thousands of pictures and memories to share.

A special thank you to our guide Peter.  His knowledge of the country, its people, plants and wildlife made our safari complete.  He encouraged us to experience Tanzania from sunup to sundown…..we didn’t want to miss a minute!

If an African safari is on your bucket list do it now!

Louise M.
Huntington, New York
Safari Dates: June 2 – June 10, 2013

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Guest Testimonial With Rare Puff Adder Video

Wow!! From the moment we were picked up at the airport in Arusha to the point of being dropped off at the end of our safari, ADS made sure every detail was handled so we could relax and have a phenomenal life time adventure. Immediately, it was apparent that the key to an incredible safari experience is the bush guide leading the way.

It is essential to have a guide that is knowledgeable of the animals, birds, trees and vegetation to completely understand the wildlife on safari.  That makes the difference between an average safari and a superior safari. Our ADS guide was an expert and like no other guide we encountered. He was extremely educated and skillful in putting us in the proper position every time to see the wildlife up close. Our safari photographs are extraordinary due to our ADS guide. ADS made sure that all our needs were taken care of throughout the trip. ADS provides a superior safari experience that is second to none.

Brad C. and Bradi L.
Orange County, California
Safari Dates: June 7, 2013 to June 20, 2013

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By Guide Arnold Mushi – Bush Report For June 2013

I am Arnold Yahaya Mushi, the head guide of Africa Dream Safaris, and I have just finished my safari with two guests from Wisconsin, USA named Greg and Kathy. These guests first arrived into the Western corridor of the Serengeti on June 15, 2013 where I picked them up at the Grumeti Airstrip to start our 8-night safari.

We got a good chance to see very big herds of zebra and wildebeest as they were migrating from nyasirori on the way to the grumeti game reserve. The immediate area was very dry and almost all the swamps were complete dry and hence the migration was moving quickly.

Also seen in the West Serengeti were big groups of hippo outside of the water and walking on dry land. We also spotted a pride of lions laying next to the sun pepper bush trying to hunt wildebeest. They were unsuccessful but we managed to take very good pictures of lioness and wildebeest together.

As usual there were plenty of the big croc’s and we also saw the black and white Colobus monkey relaxing up on a fig tree very close to the river. The Grumeti was full of hippo’s as well, thus it was very good beginning to our safari.

Coming to the Central Serengeti we got a chance to see two very big male lions and large numbers of elephants. In the well-known Seronera Valley we spotted a leopard up on a sausage tree and there happened to be elephants crossing underneath. Not far way from the place where we spotted the leopard, we saw a lioness up resting in another sausage tree.

On the way to Moru Kopjes near Lake Magadi we watched a mother cheetah with her cub hunting a female thomson’s gazelles. The mother cheetah broke one of the gazelle’s legs from the rear so that she could give her cub hunting lessons. It was an extraordinary experience and we spent more than two hours there. Later the mother decided to kill the gazelle and dragged the carcass into the shade to eat.

At the moment this area is dry with very short grass and home to large numbers of thomson’s gazelles. Also in the same area where the national park in doing controlled burning of the grasses we saw southern ground hornbill, very rare bird that lives for 35 years and produces just two eggs only after 9 years.

Coming to Sametu kopjes towards the Eastern side of the park we saw a big pride of lions resting under the balanite tree. It seems like they been eating well. One of the male lions was moving around but the cubs were just resting next to the water.

At the Gol kopjes in the southeast Serengeti we saw three cheetahs, but they were just lying on the tall grasses. The area is very dry but there were large numbers of gazelles and ostriches.

The Ngorongoro Crater is very cold at the moment. Down on the floor of the Crater we saw seven lionesses and one male lions, also a rhino near Lake Magadi. The lake has enough water but there were only a few flamingo’s because they are now migrating to the different lakes in the Rift Valley. We did see big herds of zebras, wildebeests and buffaloes.

At Lake Manyara National Park, it was very good because the guests enjoyed the ground water forest and the big numbers of baboons that were playing in the area. Also we saw a large a herd of buffaloes that were surrounded with cattle egrets. In the dry woodlands of Manyara there were large numbers of elephants and also blue monkeys.

Please enjoy a few of my pictures.

Thank you.

Arnold Y. Mushi
ADS-Driver Guide
June 26, 2013

Note the leopard above the elephant in the picture below.

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This Was An Adventure I’ll Never Forget

Well, no words I can come up with can describe how amazing my whole safari experience was! It was definitely one of the most remarkable experiences of my life, every day was a new adventure, full of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen. Although it was nice to sleep in my own bed last night, I definitely missed the sounds of Serengeti streaming through my tent, lulling me to sleep each night. As well, the people we interacted with in various capacities were the most helpful, welcoming, patient, and most gracious and accommodating I’ve ever met. From our guide, Francis, to all the people at the various lodges, to our Masai hosts, everybody was amazing! This was an adventure I’ll never forget, and hope to experience again someday. Thanks for putting it together for us!

Thanks (Asante Sana) Dawn. This was the trip of a lifetime!
Todd M.
Keystone, Colorado
June 12, 2013 to June 19, 2013

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By Guide Emmanuel Kichao – A Birthday Celebration To Remember

Jambo! My name is Emmanuel and I a driver-guide with ADS. I have just completed a very special safari with my two guests from California. There names are Joseph and Courtney. It was an extra special trip as the guest were celebrating their 75th and 74th birthdays. As pictured here we arranged for them to receive our traditional Maasai birthday gifts.

Thankfully the high expectations I had for this special safari were exceeded with the tremendous wildlife action we encountered.  We enjoyed a total of 8 nights on safari with 2 nights in the West Serengeti at Kirawira Tented Camp, 2 nights in the Central Serengeti at Four Seasons Bilila, 2 nights on and near the Ngorongoro Crater split between Lion’s Paw Camp and the Ngorongoro Manor and our final 2 nights in Tarangire National Park at Swala Tented Camp.

It turned out to be a spectacular program and we really got lucky with some tremendous wildlife encounters. Some of the highlights included watching a lion kill, close encounters with both cheetahs and leopards, witnessing the great migration, watching the large crocs in the Grumeti River, spending time with a hyena family at their den site and in general just enjoying the natural beauty of Tanzania’s national parks, which I am very proud to call my own.

Attached to my posting are some pictures from my safari. Asante Sana!

Emmanuel Kichao
ADS Guide
June 25, 2013

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By Guide Raphael Mollel – A Wonderful Adventure!

Jambo! My name is Raphael, a guide with ADS, and I have just finished my safari ending June 16, 2013 with 2 guests from California, USA. It was an amazing safari because we started in the Western Corridor of the Serengeti where the migration was located. We saw masses of wildebeests together with zebras. If that was not enough, we saw them crossing the Grumeti River and witnessed one wildebeest taken by a crocodile. In the Western Serengeti we also saw a pride of lions hunting multiple wildebeests. They were making successful hunts and then leaving them without eating. In the West Serengeti, we also saw a beautiful white and black colobus monkey and monitor lizard along the grumeti river.

In the central part of the Serengeti (SERONERA VALLEY) we saw a mother leopard with her two cubs enjoying two kills (both thomson gazelles) in a tree. The mother leopard was having a difficult time dragging the prey up the tree as the cubs kept pushing it back to the ground. They did this four times but it was enjoyable for my guests and I to watch.

Around Sametu Kopjes in then Central-Eastern part of the Serengeti we saw a pride of lions eating a buffalo and there was a mother carrying a cub in her mouth not more then ten days old I would estimate.

We drove down into the crater very early in the morning (06:00am) and suddenly we met a black rhino on the road around Lerai forest. We also a saw a Zebra giving birth in the crater. Another very interesting sight was coming across puff adders mating in the middle of the road. Attached here are a few of my pictures.

Zebra being born in the Ngorongoro Crater

Wildebeest crossing the Grumeti River, West Serengeti (note the elephant in the background)

Red dragonfly near the Grumeti River, West Serengeti

A wonderful picture of a mother leopard dragging a Thomson Gazelle up a tree.

One of the leopard cubs is about to start eating the gazelle

A one-tusker elephant in the Ngorongoro Crater

White and Black colobus monkey

Two lions resting at Sametu Kopjes

Male lion with Buffalo kill at Sametu Marsh in Central Serengeti

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By Guide David Chando – The Serengeti in June

June is one of the more spectacular times to visit the Serengeti. It is a dynamic time for a safari. June is the season of change with the great migration pushing northward as the green season slowly gives way to the long dry season. This was another great safari for me this June. We wrapped up our trip on June 8th and I am excited to get back out to the Serengeti for a late June safari.

My guests arrived into Kilimanjaro on Tuesday 28th May 2013 and departed Saturday June 08 when they flew back to the USA, Colorado. This was their first time in Africa and they were so happy, seeing the great herds of wildbeests and zebras who were migrating northward approaching Bologonja springs, which means in a  few days time they will cross the Sand River. Some highlights are as follows:

Zebra migration in the Central Serengeti

Lonely male lion at Gol Kopjes, East Serengeti

Mother cheetah with two cubs and a kill in the Gol Kopjes area of the East Serengeti

Seronera Spring

Sunrise in the North Serengeti

Two female lions at Tagora Plains in the Central Sernegeti

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By Guide Peter Huka – June Safari

I have just concluded my first safari for June and am preparing to head back out for hopefully another great adventure in the Serengeti. My most recent safari was a big success in both the West and Central Serengeti. The wildlife viewing was good along the Grumeti River as well as the surrounding plains where we saw a pride of lions with cubs and some big groups of giraffe.

In the Central Serengeti the game viewing was also great where we saw big herd of zebras, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, lions and cheetahs hunting. The East Serengeti which is usually more dry this time of year was also surprisingly good and at a special place named Gol Kopjes we saw lions and cheetahs. In Tarangire National Park, game viewing was good in the Silalei Swamp where many big herds of elephants were grazing and also long the Tarangire River where we came across a leopard with a kill.

I hope you enjoy a few of my pictures. I have tried to take some more unusual pictures a little different then the ones traditionally posted on the ADS blog.

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By Guide Maiko George – Photos From My Safari

Greetings from Tanzania. My name is Maiko and I am a driver-guide with Africa Dream Safaris. Thank you for viewing my blog posting. This is a busy month for all of us here at ADS. It is the start of our summer peak season which begins in May and lasts all the way through October. It is an exciting time to be on safari especially in the Serengeti National Park. I have uploaded just a few pictures from my most recent safari. The game viewing is very good at the moment throughout the Serengeti ecosystem with the best to be had currently in the Western and Central areas.

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We Were Blessed To See The Elusive Caracal.

My wife, mother and I recently returned from a 10 day safari organized by Africa Dream Safaris. Everything about our trip exceeded our very high expectations: the animals were more plentiful, the scenery was more stunning, the accommodations were more luxurious, the food was more delicious, the service was more attentive, and our driver-guide was more knowledgeable and solicitous than we could have possibly imagined.

From our first contact with Dawn Anderson in ADS’s US office to checking-in for our return flight, our experience with every ADS employee was positively enjoyable. Every request, large or small, was attend to promptly and efficiently. After two rest days in the Kilimanjaro area, we flew to Grumenti airstrip at the western end of Serengeti National Park. There we went on two game drives and a hot air balloon ride, relaxing in the evenings at the five star (in our opinion) Mbalageti Tented Lodge.

On the first afternoon alone, we saw lions, giraffes, zebras, crocodiles, hippos, cape buffalo, baboons, elephants, impalas, warthogs, wildebeest, topis, waterbucks, jackals, gazelles – well, you name it. It seemed that every turn in the road brought a new flock of birds or herd of animals into view. It was the same for the remainder of our safari.

On our game drives in the Musabi Plains, Seronera River Valley, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park we saw elephants fighting, cheetahs hunting, leopards resting, ostriches mating, hyaenas scavenging, flamingos feeding and vervet monkeys getting into all sorts of mischief. And we saw all this not from a great distance, but up close and personal. Finally, we were blessed to see the elusive caracal and the endangered black rhinoceros.

My wife and I have traveled all over the world: from the top of Norway to the deserts of Australia, from the Siberian steppes to French Polynesia and judge our vacation with Africa Dream Safaris to be far and away the most enjoyable trip we have ever been on.

All the very best,

Jeff Holzgrefe
Decatur, Georgia
Safari Dates: June 16, 2013 to June 23, 2013

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By Guide Peter Meena – A Few Pictures From My Safari

Hello, this is driver-guide Peter again posting a few pictures from my most recent safari. This time I had the privilege of being the guide for a very fun and kind family of six from Florida. Here are just couple snapshots from our 6-night safari in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.

This time my dear Croke was viewed down on the Grumeti River desperately looking for something for the gastronomy. Surprisingly he had no alternative other than going the smallest prey. ”You know what this was? Cat fish”.

Sun bathing monitor was seen along the Grumeti River lying down undisturbed taking advantage of the morning’s free of charge of sun vitamins. He looked very energetic, friendly and welcoming.

Like mother like daughter, this leopard cub about 6 months old was viewed going up an umbrella acacia tree. It was so nice to see this very young cub practicing what the mother was teaching notably survival tactics from larger predators by climbing high in a tree. This occurred in Seronera of the Central Serengeti.

This lion cub perched on this dead tree was kind of watching the rest of the pride of about 18 scattered around Sametu Kopjes. It seemed as if the cub was on guard, and passing information to the pride of any approaching prey. This was an excellent moment.

Here is one of the big five majestically walking, wanting to cross the road from Gorgor Swamp to the plains. This was in the Ngorongoro Crater.

A Crowned Crane bird with a chick on her tail showing the way to go and getting the chick fed. We thought the mother was alone, but a few seconds the father showed up, to keep the promise of caring and mate for life. It was in Lake Manyara National Park.

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We Spent The First Day Searching Out Huge Crocs

On June 12th my husband and I left for Africa to fulfill a dream that I had had since I was a little girl. Africa had been on my bucket list since I read ‘Bomba the Jungle Boy’. The real experience was much better.

I can’t say enough about how helpful Sharon was in planning and organizing the whole trip. She answered all my questions and she made the best plans for tent camps and arrangements for travel. Each camp was more beautiful than the previous one.

Our guide, Arnold was a wonderful choice. Not only was he knowledgeable about all of the animals and birds we encountered, but he was exceptionally fun to be with. Each day was a new adventure and we never failed to see copious animals and birds wherever we were. As Arnold was prone to saying, “Each day is a good day in the bush!” Boy was he right!

By the 4th day, we had seen the Big Five and most of the Little Five also. Since I had told Arnold that my favorite animal was the crocodile, we spent the first two days searching out huge crocs and hippos. I was sooo excited! My husband loved cape buffalos and we saw many of those as well as lions, cheetahs, leopards and more gazelles, wildebeests, and zebra than we could count. A highlight was having lunch in the middle of the Great Migration.

Everything that we saw in Africa was beautiful and exciting. It was all I had hoped for and much more. Ever since we got home, we have been showing our over 800 pictures to our friends and family. We are hoping to make another trip back to Africa within the next year and a half.

Thank you to Arnold and Sharon for making my childhood dream a reality.

Kathleen S.
Waukesha, Wisconsin
Safari Dates: June 13, 2013 to June 23, 2013

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Africa Dream Safari Is The Way To Go!!

I could not be more pleased with our entire safari experience from beginning to end. We worked with Dawn and she is wonderful; she answered every e-mail promptly, courteously and accurately. Most people don’t describe a safari as relaxing but it was to me because I did not have any decisions to make once we arrived in Tanzania except what delicious food to choose for my meals. Everything was taken care of for me.

A month before we left my 22 year old son Jeremy called to gently tell me he needed knee surgery but the doctor assured him he would be fine for the safari. A week before we left he called again to let me know that the doctor had just told him he would still need his crutches on our adventure. My heart sank. I immediately e-mailed Dawn and she assured me that he would be fine on the safari and she was right. Jeremy loved the adventure and did not miss a thing, including crutching his way across two swinging bridges!

The safari experience was 7 days in paradise. Much of the credit goes to our driver Petro who was amazing; knowledgeable, kind, humorous, and handled well our dynamic group of seven! We saw every animal I hoped to see and then some! He read the group well and catered to our wishes and wants. We chose to be out for 10-12 hour days and loved every minute of it from the first lion we saw to the last wildebeest. We chose a variety of accommodations and enjoyed each one. I may have to adopt the traditions of being greeted with warm moist wash cloths after a long day outdoors and using a hot water bottle in my bed at night! We felt so pampered.

I had high expectations for our safari and between Dawn from Africa Dream Safari and Petro all of my expectations were more than met. Thank you Dawn and Petro for creating a vacation our group of seven will never forget! It was an experience of a lifetime.

Laura J.
Derwood, Maryland
June 20-June 28,2013

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My Honeymoon Safari To Tanzania

We have to start out saying what an amazing time we had! We’ve traveled around the world and our safari was, by far, the best trip we have ever been on!

We booked our safari in the spring of 2012 (for travel in April/May 2013)  through Sharon at the U.S. office for our honeymoon. Sharon was so helpful from the get-go, explaining the difference in lodge and camping types and assisting us in picking the dates, type, and duration that was best for us.

We arrived through London to Nairobi in Mount Kilimanjaro and were immediately welcomed by our ADS representative. We sped through customs and were quickly in a van on our way to the airstrip in Arusha. Within the afternoon, we were on a plane on our way to the Central Serengeti airstrip to meet our guide Francis. Right away, we knew Francis would be an amazing guide as he had a picnic lunch waiting for us in the car (and we were starving!).

The first day was absolutely breathtaking. The landscapes were beyond description, the savannahs were endless, and the sky was a cloudless, bright blue. Right out of the gate, we were amazed by the sheer number and volume of animals. We obviously knew we’d see lots of animals, but we were shocked that we’d leave our hotel and run into a lone hippopotamus, or a family of giraffes.

To say that each day was as good as the last would be inappropriate. Everyday seemed to bring something completely new and exciting that all of us, including Francis, didn’t expect. On day 2, we saw a leopard in a tree with a half-eaten gazelle. And according to everyone we excitedly told a leopard was a very rare sight indeed!

On day 3, while out on a run near the Gol Kopjes, we came across two black main lion brothers patrolling their area. We were able to be witness to the lions roaring as they marked their territory. It was an amazing, and awe-inspiring sight.

Day 5 started out as a slow day, but near the mid-afternoon, we happened across a honey badger! Francis started excitedly yelling, “honey badger! Honey badger!” as he swerved to follow it around and around. It circled frantically, darting every which way trying to shake us as we finally caught sight of it from about 10 feet away. It was only after it went underground that we understood how rare a honey badger sighting is – in his 8 years leading safaris, Francis had only seen a honey badger once before, and that was only 3 years earlier. We were ecstatic!

On day 7, as we were heading back to Lake Masek Lodge, we happened across an elephant blocking the road as he scratched his behind on a tree. We had to off road to pass the elephant, but we were soon confronted with three elephants (an adult and two juveniles) playing and splashing in a large watering hole about 300 feet away. We watched as all three elephants played in the water – swimming around, splashing each other, and spraying water every which way. It was heartwarming to see them having such a grand old time.

On day 8, we began the morning following two cheetahs as they appeared to be stalking prey. To avoid freaking them out, we followed at a safe distance for almost two hours. We were almost despairing two hours later, thinking maybe we were wrong. When suddenly, one of the males began trotting, then jogging, then running as we sighted a baby wildebeest in the distance it had seen from miles away. In awe, we watched as the lead cheetah got up to full speed, grabbed hold of the wildebeest and took it down. As we drove closer, one cheetah had hold of the neck and was slowly suffocating the prey, while the other had his jaws clenched tightly around the hind quarters. Slowly, the animal died and the two cheetahs ate their way through most of it.

We spent our last two days in the bush in the Ngorongoro Crater – which was amazing in so many ways. It truly is a microcosm of the Serengeti. The views, from the morning fog to the dense afternoon cluster of animals were amazing. We truly appreciated the concentration of animals after spending so many days in the Serengeti and understanding how truly inspiring it was.

In addition to all of the nature beauty, we also enjoyed every lodge/camp we stayed at. The people were so beyond nice, helpful, and celebratory of our big event! We frequently came home from game drives to bottles of champagne, special seating for dinner, or romantic decorations.

Our trip was amazing, and every day truly was different and phenomenal in so many ways. Every day we had to pinch ourselves to make sure it was real. We can’t wait to go back in 5-10 years and see everything we did see again as well as several new sights!

Stacey and Brian B.
Safari Dates: April 30, 2013 to May 12, 2013
New York, New York

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Wall Street Journal Article on ADS’s Partnership with St Jude’s

Please read this coverage of our new partnership with the School of St. Jude in the Wall Street Journal.

The School of St Jude and Africa Dream Safaris are now working together to help impoverished children in Tanzania to receive a free, high-quality education, while strengthening ADS’ humanitarian involvement in the East African community. Our monthly donation will buy 2,000 hot, nutritious meals per month for the students. Tanzania is a developing country where one-third of its population lives below the poverty line, on less than $1.25 per day. A majority of children in Tanzanian schools do not receive lunch or any food, so they cannot focus on learning when they’re hungry. St Jude’s provides daily meals for students, as well as breakfast and dinner for the over 1,100 students who live in their boarding houses. All produce is sourced from the local community.

The School of St Jude is a charity funded school that provides a free, high-quality primary and secondary education to over 1,600 of the poorest, brightest children of Arusha region, Tanzania, East Africa. The school, located across three campuses, also provides boarding for 1,100 students, and employs over 450 Tanzanians. It was founded by Australian Gemma Sisia in 2002.

In addition to a range of other cultural and charitable outreach opportunities, ADS offers its guests the chance to visit The School of St Jude. Here they can meet students – who come from the poorest families in Arusha – and find out how one classroom in 2002 has grown into three campuses, two boarding houses and a centre of employment for over 450 local Tanzanians. ADS runs our operational office out of Arusha – where St Jude’s three campuses are located – so we get to witness the tourism landscape firsthand and are excited to offer our clients the opportunity to experience all that Tanzania has to offer, from the natural wonders of the Serengeti to the great work being done in the local community.

Quote from St. Jude Founder – Gemma Sisia

“It’s thanks to ADS and all our supporters around the world that St Jude’s can not only educate so many children for free, but also employ over 450 local staff,” says Gemma Sisia, Founder of St Jude’s. “Their monthly contribution will allow our students to lead healthy lives, by focusing on their education rather than worrying where their next meal will come from. With this ADS contribution, we can continue to fulfill our mission of educating the next future leaders of Tanzania.”
Video Introduction of The School of St. Judes

This video is a wonderful overview St. Jude’s history and all the great work the school is consistently producing for Tanzanian community.

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