Why Acacia in Kenya?
For the partners of this project, the acacia tree is a powerful symbol. Strongly evocative of Africa, it is a reminder that even dreams that seem out of reach can come true. For Joyce, just the thought of ever journeying to Africa and seeing Acacia trees up close seemed impossible at one time. The 2004-2005 year was a time of intense personal transition for Joyce, who was beset with a number of personal and professional challenges that forced her to look deep inside herself and make important changes in her life. Always strongly drawn to Africa, Joyce routinely used the image of an Acacia tree when she went jogging in Cambridge as an imaginary destination or finish line, a Shangri-La, an oasis in the desert, to strive for—to keep her focused on what’s truly important, on the world outside her own internal life, one she knew she could reach with determination and perseverance.
The very nature of these morning runs became a way to rejuvenate, to re-inspire, to re-direct Joyce’s soul to her deepest goals and dreams, and the Acacia tree was the icon she used to spur her on. It was all about inspiration, and connecting to something greater than herself. “Just put one foot in front of another,” Joyce would tell herself each morning as she laced up her sneakers. “If you just take one more step you can run all the way to Africa and reach that Acacia tree!”
At this point, Joyce had yet to meet Sammy and had no plans to visit East Africa; although the Acacia tree was a powerful source of inspiration, it didn’t seem like a dream that could be manifested or directly experienced. But by facing her challenges and accepting the opportunities that suddenly opened up a path to Africa, Joyce eventually found herself in Kenya, face to face with what she had only been able to imagine before—a dream made real. And if that were true, Joyce thought, how could anything else be impossible?