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Through a Guide's Eyes: Sketching in Tanzania with Brenda Porter

Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Brenda Porter has been guiding with Adventures in Good Company since day one. As long as we've known her, she's traveled with a sketchpad and documented our trips through her talent for sketching. She recently returned from Tanzania with her typical heartfelt images and stories that help remind us to pause, look around, and take time to deeply experience a place and its people.

Sketch 1

I absolutely love sharing and facilitating experiences throughout the world for women who want to be active and explore through sustainable travel. I recently led a group of 13 women on safari in Tanzania with AGC. Along with our Tanzanian partner guides, we hiked for five days in the Gnorongoro Highlands, through Maasai villages and then saw African wildlife on a traditional Jeep Safari. 

One of my highlights was connecting with Michael, a 12 year-old boy from Naobi Village, one of the communities that we hiked through. He became the head of his family after his father died and he wants to be a professional guide. We initiated him as our hiking guide for two days through the Great Rift Valley.

Michael aptly led our group of women down trails scattered with loose scree and though stunning scenery, with people and donkeys passing periodically, heading to the market, or carrying our gear. This was Michael’s home turf and it was magical for us to walk with him. With our tips, Michael bought his first-ever set of new clothing- a Tanzania soccer jersey and pants, as well as a cow and several goats to help sustain his family. We all felt that Michael helped us and we helped him to help his family.

Sketch 2

 

I always travel with a sketch book and a small set of watercolors. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time during our hiking trip to sketch the Mountain of God, Ol Doinyo Lengai, the volcano dominating our view, Michael, or the donkeys. 

But, while we were on the Jeep Safari, I had some time to look closely and use color and lines to illustrate what I saw in the landscape. In fact, we had three jeeps for our group — one was dedicated to the birding enthusiasts who wanted to stop and I.D. every bird, one for generalists (people who were interested in everything), and one with sketchers and photographers like me. 

Adventure travel with women is a wonderful opportunity to see the world with new eyes. I am looking forward to my next AGC guiding opportunity to the Ecuador Amazon and Galápagos Islands, even as I savor highlights from our adventure in Africa.  

Sketch 3

 

All images are created by, and therefore property of, Brenda Porter. 

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