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So excited to finally share with you the amazing experience I had last fall with TOMS in East Africa. It was definitely a “trip of a lifetime” for so many reasons, but mostly because I had no clue how much amazing, impactful work that TOMS is doing — work that is truly changing lives. So if you’re wondering if those pair of shoes or sunglasses you bought actually make a positive impact in the world …  I’m here to tell you YES. A resounding yes. I’ll be sure to share my favorite photos from the Spring 2014 Catalog once it’s launched (I haven’t seen it yet myself! Request a copy of it here.) But in the meantime, I thought I’d share some of my own photos from the trip, below, and tell you a bit about how we spent our time during the course of two weeks in two beautiful countries.

TOMS’ newest One For One product, coffee, was just announced last week — did you hear? One bag of coffee provides one week of clean water to a person in need. Being a total coffee fanatic, it was truly incredible to visit TOMS’ new coffee-making partners while we were in Rwanda. We started at the source of the coffee bean, out in the beautiful countryside, learning how they are picked and cleaned. Then we headed to Kigali to the coffee factory, where we witnessed how the beans are sorted, made into delicious, roasted coffee and then packaged beautifully by patient, hardworking men and women. At the end of our stay in Rwanda, we headed to Lake Kivu for total relaxation and adventure on the water. We rode on canoes through the crystal blue lake, ran and jumped off the dock into the perfectly warm water below, climbed trees, stood in awe of huge forests and just enjoyed the stunning nature and views all around us. I felt like a little kid again and truly soaked up every single moment.

Then we headed to Tanzania, via a tiny, very turbulent prop plane. We made a long drive north through the beautiful, arid and flat landscape that is so quintessential Africa. We spent a day in a remote village, where we participated in free eye-exams that are put on by TOMS’ partner eye clinic in a nearby town. The entire village was excited and anxious about having the opportunity to receive a proper eye exam; most people in the village had never seen an actual doctor in their lifetime. Based on their condition, individuals were selected for free cataract surgery (thanks to TOMS) the very next day. To witness these people’s lives change so dramatically, and so easily, was incredible and humbling.

We ended the trip with an epic safari through the Serengeti, which was teeming with just about every animal we could have dreamed of seeing. We ran across an old, rickety bridge (with crocs below), photographed the animals and blasted music as we drove through the most beautiful place we’d all ever experienced. And all the while, I got to wear the most amazing TOMS Shoes, TOMS eyewear and Marketplace clothing and accessories. Seriously, I’m in love with everything TOMS is putting out this Spring, and am beyond grateful and honored that Rose & Fitzgerald is included in the mix!

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{Obsessed with this scarf worn as a cover-up by Lemlem}

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{Tara looking stunning in Rose & Fitzgerald’s Triple Band Brass Ring and Cuff.}

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I would like to introduce myself. My name is Angela, I am a freelance editor and I’m currently writing for African and international blogs and websites writing articles on various topics such as travelling,sports, technology, fashion, beauty, career and employment. Today, while surfing the Internet, I came across your site and I really liked it. I wanted to first compliment you on it and I was wondering if you were interested in one of my articles for your site? If so, please let me know at your earliest convenience by writing an e-mail to my personal account.

Thank you in advance and have a great day. Kind regards,

Dena Willeford

This is really neat! I’m glad you are getting to experience all these great things in life :) Looks like such a blessing!


This is just so beyond amazing I can’t even stand it! Love that you got to experience this trip and see Toms in action. Love you!

Courtney Poole

THANK YOU! So nice of you to say. My hope now is that YOU can come experience Africa and we can go on an adventure together. What do you say?? :) Love you!

Sarah | Safaris and Sunsets

Oh my goodness. I am dying over here with the beauty of these photographs and the look of bliss on each and every face. It looks like a true journey of a lifetime. Thank you for sharing it with us!


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