port of harlem magazine
champion services travel - group travel
Sadiki Educational Safaris Offers Ethiopian Immersion Program
December 17 – December 30, 2020
lydia curtis

sadiki in tanzania

Since 1997, Sadiki Educational Safaris has been providing Metro DC area young adults opportunities to explore and gain a higher appreciation of the African world via travel experiences. Their first program included a 10-day excursion to Senegal. This year the group will lead a blended, virtual and in-person, 21-day Ethiopian Immersion program with hopes of traveling there in 2022.

While varied in structure and content, each program involves in depth learning and diverse experiences. Six months prior to the 1997 trip to Senegal, founder Lydia Curtis escorted three junior high school boys to the local library to conduct research on the West African country. “We also met with Senegalese officials at the embassy in Washington, DC., attended an African fashion show, sampled Senegalese foods, and visited Reagan National Airport for flight orientation,” she recalls. Curtis also took the young men to Howard University Hospital for their travel related shots.

In the West African country, they visited the Gorée Island, met with kids their own age in supervised workshops, learned to overcome language barriers, had a two-night home stay, and went to Saly, an international resort area, south of Dakar.  “We also made drums in the home of a griot, participated in Independence Day activities, learned traditional tea service, and learned how to barter for goods and services in West African CFA francs, the currency of Senegal and seven other West African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, and Togo.

In April 2012, Curtis crafted a similar, but unique program that focused on Accra, Ghana. Unlike the Senegal program I “had generous individual donors and corporate sponsors Ace Music Co of London, England and Minder Music of Beverly Hills, California,” added Curtis, who taught elementary theatre and dance in the District of Columbia Public School System. In 2017, the program focused on the Yoruba village of Oyotunji African Village, located near Sheldon, South Carolina. In the village, students learned the Yoruba belief system.

No matter the itinerary, our goal is to provide, “educational travel opportunities to under resourced youth,” explained Curtis. “Our mission is to elevate, celebrate, and empower young people through the art, history. and culture of Africa,” she continued.

The organization is still accepting applicants for the 2020-21 program that will be based in DC and mostly virtual. The group will immerse themselves in Ethiopian culture via Amharic, dance, music, and cooking – with the hope of flying to the east African country in 2022. “We want the children to be confident, global citizens. When they walk into one of DC’s many Ethiopian restaurants, they will be comfortable in greeting the person and ordering the food in Amharic,” she added.

Currently they are looking for a safe place each child can cook an authentic Ethiopian dish. “Maybe in March when the virus numbers are better,” we can provide that experience, she says. Similar to past programs, Curtis says the goal remains the same while planning remains flexible and adaptable “to whatever circumstance arrive, from financial barriers to COVID-19.”
For additional information, contact Lydia Curtis at 202- 361-0501.

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