JoAnne and her husband Bob recently travelled all the way to Africa, not only for a bucket list safari of a lifetime, but also so that JoAnne could spend some quality time in local African communities, beading, drawing, dancing and painting with local artisans in rural areas.
JoAnne has broken the norm and defied the odds and now she wanted to share in local African traditions, not only to inspire her own creative work, but more importantly to connect with people on a human level and use her story of determination to uplift others.
Their first stop was &Beyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp in Kenya’s Masai Mara. JoAnne and Bob very much wanted to visit the nearby Enkereri community so that JoAnne could do some beading with the Maasai women. All Simon Saitoti from Africa Foundation told the women beforehand was that they’d be receiving a visitor and they responded that were delighted to have the opportunity to teach someone their craft.
Much to their surprise, when they saw JoAnne emerge from the safari vehicle, some of the women were overhead making the assumption that it was Bob who had come to do the beading. When JoAnne joined the ladies on their Maasai shukas and started making a necklace with her feet, the Maasai women stared in wonder and disbelief. They had lots of questions for JoAnne, which she was only too happy to answer. Did she have children? And who took care of them when they were young? JoAnne surprised the crowd when she confessed that she’d done it all on her own.
At the end of their friendly beading session, the Maasai women presented JoAnne with some of the jewellery they had made together. As it turned out, it was a day that neither JoAnne nor the Maasai women will forget and the resounding message that the Maasai took from their meeting was that disability is not inability.