Inspiration cannot be forced –

– but inspiring places can awaken those sleepier parts of the creative mind.

This summer I will travel to a remote destination in Mpumalanga province, South Africa, with the organization Volunteer Southern Africa (VSA).  Seems like a good time to brush up on some Toto:

I will participate in two programs: one rehabilitating orphaned rhino calves (!!!) and the other, benefiting orphaned children of the AIDS epidemic.  Both are close to my heart.  Both seem well-worth the long journey and scary vaccinations.

As a children's author, I am REALLY EXCITED to meet and bond with kids from a faraway place.

Bottle Caps + Strategy = a Thinking Game

Bottle Caps + Strategy = a Thinking Game

As a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Malawi in 2011, one of my biggest takeaways was that children around the world – no matter their means – are full of hope, curiosity and creativity.  They can teach us a lot.

I have a special memory of meeting two siblings, Love and Clement.  Clement was really shy.  Love was a watchful older sister.  Towards the end of my stay, Love approached me to explain that Clement wanted to show me something.  

Over the weeks he had noticed me drawing in my tiny, orange sketchbook and he was eager to show me his own drawings:

L to R: Clement, Love, Megan (showing off Clement's drawings)

L to R: Clement, Love, Megan (showing off Clement's drawings)

Kids are often reluctant to share their art – especially with a stranger!  I was so humbled that Clement chose me to show his drawings to.  We didn't speak the same language (he speaks the native Chewa) – yet somehow we knew exactly how to reach each other.  And that was through art.

With hopes of doing meaningful volunteer work, spreading some love, and bringing a piece of Africa back (somewhere deep in my writer's brain) – I'm taking off soon!

* * * To participate by proxy and support the work of these volunteer programs, please consider making a donation to my Little Ones campaign (click below).  Your kind gesture will make an impact!