The Human Connection: Engaging Difference in Southern Africa—April 10

Spend an evening in conversation with Marc Tognotti of the Tikva Grassroots Empowerment Fund and Institute of the Commons.  Marc will share stories about his travels to meet with community groups and conservation activists in southern Africa.  Join Marc in reflecting on his experiences in remote African villages, encountering members of one of the world’s most isolated tribes in northern Namibia, and spending time in Zambian and Zimbabwean communities without running water, electricity, or tourists.  His theme will be making human connection across differences of culture, race, education and wealth, as he discusses his efforts to break through preconceptions that often get in the way of meaningful personal exchange … and friendship.

 
Thursday, April 10: 7:30-9:00pm
Two Hats Consulting
3392 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA 94703 (near Ashby BART)
 
 
Marc Tognotti, PhD, works as a consultant to government agencies and other organizations, designing and implementing participatory processes to help diverse stakeholders find agreement on complex issues.  He also serves as advisor to the southern Africa grantmaking program of the Tikva Grassroots Empowerment Fund, a small US-based foundation that seeks to partner with poor and disenfranchised communities around the world in their efforts to secure access to basic needs, and protect basic human rights. 
 
For more info, contact tom@openheartsafari.com
 

IN LIKE A LION: Movement-Based Workshop

For those who can’t make it to Africa this summer, Open Heart Safari is pleased to present… 

IN LIKE A LION!
 
A Movement-Based Workshop with Laura Paradise
Sunday, March 30: 2-4pm

Many of us are moved by animals.
Being in the presence of wild animals may stir the wild animal inside us.
We may have identified an animal ally or sense a kinship to specific animals.
Or, we may want to cultivate a greater sense of our own animal spirit.

“March comes in like a lion,” they say.  What better time to explore your relationship to some of Africa’s animals and touch your own animal spirit?  In Like a Lion is a studio-based event that integrates movement, play on two- and four-legs, sound, and drawing.  We will use the pulse and sounds of the African bush and the movements of African wildlife as the context for connecting with our own aliveness. 

Sunday March 30, 2-4 pm
East Bay Dance Center, 1318 Glenfield, Oakland
Suggested donation $20
To reserve your spot, email lparadise.coach@gmail.com

Laura Paradise is a certified life coach who facilitates personal and professional growth with a unique approach that draws on expressive arts and Authentic Movement. With her husband Tom, she has been co-leading Open Heart Safari to Zambia for the past three years. 

“I still feel taller, more confident and quite peaceful from our movement session.”

“The movement workshop was very healing to me. The exercises that we did were enlightening and motivated me to take action. Since then, I’ve been stepping away, stepping out and stepping it up a notch.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The best way to travel to Africa is with an Open Heart!
Join us to learn what touches you.
 
Please like us, share us, etc. on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OpenHeartSafari

Open Heart Safari Spring Events

In our third year of bringing folk to the animal wildness of Africa, Open Heart Safari is now bringing the animal wildness of Africa home to Oakland/Berkeley, CA.

Mark your calendar for our spring events:

Sunday, March 30, 2-4pm: In Like a Lion.  Led by Laura Paradise, this workshop uses movement, drawing, and other expressive arts to connect with your animal energies, and experience the pulse and spirit of Africa.

Thursday, April 10, 7:30-9pm: Engaging Difference in Southern Africa.  Marc Tognotti, Program Officer of Tikva Grassroots Empowerment Fund, speaks about his recent travels in Zimbabwe and Zambia to meet with community groups and conservation activists, and lessons learned.

Thursday, April 24, 7-9pm: Unfair Game: The Politics of Poaching.  Viewing and discussion of short documentary exploring the ongoing conflict between white conservationists and indigenous people in Africa.

Sunday, May 18, all day: Open Heart Safari – Pt. Reyes.  Open your heart to the wildlife in our own backyard on a daytrip to beautiful Pt. Reyes National Seashore in Marin.  We’ll be featuring Open Heart practices to deepen your experience of the land, animals, and yourself.

For more information, email tom@openheartsafari.com, or check back for postings about individual events.

 

Safari snapshots – up close and personal!

You don’t need your binoculars or camera … yet! Please join us for up close and personal highlights from our trip to Zambia and Botswana last summer, and a preview of the itinerary for Open Heart Safari 2014. Yes, we did track lions by foot and we saw lions just 100 feet from our hut. Yes, we did see a family of elephants walking along the riverbank in the moonlight. Yes, we did miss stepping on a black mozambique spitting cobra and yes, we did have a guide who pointed out the dangerous snake when it was safely on the other side of the path. Yes, we did meditate and do yoga in the company of baboons, ellies and guinea fowl. And, yes we will be doing the trip again. Our first events are in Berkeley November 3 from 4:30-6 pm and November 14 from 7-8:30 pm.

Email tom@openheartsafari.com for more information.

think about it!

 

Open Heart, Happy Spine!

Not many people return from a sixteen-day safari (and 30 hour flight) to Africa and get a clear bill of health from the chiropractor. But I did! As the yoga teacher of the Open Heart safari, I integrate easy, restorative yoga into our schedule as an antidote to the happy but somewhat long hours spent in jeeps in pursuit of amazing wildlife. The yoga time is customized to individual needs. I always include poses that strengthen the legs and loosen the pelvis; and add poses that mimic the animals we’re seeing.

Warrior pose is perfect for getting us to connect to the land and our bodies. It reminds us that the wild animals have their feet firmly planted, which makes all the difference when they have to spring into action.

Warrior Pose

Lion’s breath is a favorite for loosening the low back. It’s fun to let out a humorous guttural roar and get the chance to stick our tongues out at each other!

Lion's breath!

We also do made-up poses: pretending we’re elephants walking with low hanging trunks, monkeys playfully squatting and then stealing something to eat, and giraffes standing with legs splayed slowing moving the neck to the ground’s surface to get a drink of water.

Maybe next year we’ll create a series of safari poses!

Welcoming us!

When was the last time a group of adults was eagerly invited into a 9th grade classroom? Well, when we walked into the class at Kawaza Village, the students enthusiastically invited us to sit down and study with them. They were ready to learn and some asked us to test them in preparation for their qualifying exams. Most of the students I talked to seemed to favor math as they think it’s a subject that will help them gain employment. My sense is they also truly enjoy things quantitative. But, when they asked me to test my metal with trigonometry, I quickly offered Tom as a substitute. I’m glad to say he got the right answer!

What makes it Open Hearted?

Many people who go on safari learn about wildlife and habitat. But the people on the Open Heart Safari learn about local people and community. Most of us don’t really think about the fact that the animals AND the villages were there before the national parks and game reserves were created. And, yes, people and animals co-existed and people also relied on wild game for food. Truth is that hasn’t changed in many areas of Africa. What’s different is that foreigners came in, designated park reserves and evicted local villagers. They also turned game hunting into a sport, one with various prices depending on the type of game you want to hunt; and it became expensive for local people to hunt traditional foods. In Zambia, community people have control over the land on the perimeter of the national parks. They collect a share of hunting fees to cover costs of basic needs: schools, water and small income generating activities. Safari goers learn about poaching and habitat management but they never learn about the communities or the villagers who lost their homes. For me, knowing that game feeds hungry families gives new perspective about what happens when people impose national parks and hunting restrictions.

Sable antelope

Male sable antelope, Kafue N. Park

I think the sable antelope may be the most beautiful of the many species of African antelope we’ve seen.  They’re seldom seen–they’re quite shy, and not so common.  We saw two good-size herds.

The photo again is courtesy of trip participant Jean Bruno.

Cool wildlife in Zambia

Male leopard, S. Luangwa Nat'l Park

 

Male lion, S. Luangwa

 

Lioness, Kafue Nat'l Park, by river bank

 

These photos were taken by Jean Bruno, one of our Open Heart Safari participants this year, who heard about it from her friend, whose husband and daughter came last year.  I’m sure the only reason her photos are so much better than mine is that she has a shiny new camera.  

More pics and stories to come soon (I hope).

South Luangwa Bound!

Why Zambia, you ask? South Luangwa National Park, not to mention that Zambia is the home of the walking safari and some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Who wouldn’t want to track a lion on foot knowing that the guide is keeping you at a safe distance? And what about seeing the belly print of a crocodile (so much better than seeing the croc up close and all too personal?!). 

Take a look at this link for a preview of our where we’ll be starting our bush trekking. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Luangwa_National_Park