Demi Lovato could travel anywhere in the world. Goodness knows, she earns her downtime! So it was with awe and gratitude that WE watched the mamas of the Maasai Mara fold the superstar back into the community’s embrace.

By WE Staff

 

“Welcome!” “Jambo!” “Thank you!”

The December 2016 visit to Kenya was a sort of homecoming for Lovato—a chance to quietly celebrate the superstar philanthropist’s work and devotion to the Maasai mamas and their families.

On a previous visit—in 2013 to celebrate turning 21—she had worked in an artisans’ circle with glass beads of blue, green, red, orange and yellow. The unique Rafiki she crafted was later sold on tour stops.

“The Maasai mamas are amazing!” she explained when the Huffington Post asked about all the ways she uses her platform to empower others. “They are incredibly hard-working women who are truly inspirational. They pursue their dreams while still taking care of their households. It was an honour to work alongside them.”

Mamas beading in Kenya

The feeling is mutual to judge by the surprise party—a group hug, really—that the mamas held to revel in Lovato’s return.

“Women helping women,” she shared in a post from the festivities to her 52 million-plus Instagram followers. “One of the most incredible moments of this trip.”

It is always an honour to work and play alongside Lovato. “Without big press releases and announcements, she slowly and gently gave back … with real purpose,” says WE’s David Johnson of watching the star in action, while in Kenya together.

“I will always be in awe of the way you spend your time and energy giving back,” he wrote to his friend in an Instagram post at the close of the adventure. “Keep on inspiring girls—and keep your head held high. You’re making a real difference.”

Lovato shared a few photos and word on her Instagram, which we’re thrilled to re-share here.

Demi at elephant orphanage

“Kenya!!!”

Lovato celebrated her arrival with this snapshot later shared around the world, along with another in which an orphan elephant worked its way into a shot.

“Caption this. Wait actually … don’t,” she wrote under a jubilant selfie that earned 1.2M likes on Instagram alone.

WE Fact: ME to WE Volunteer Adventures often begin at the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Since 1977, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has hand-raised more than 150 infant elephants and returned them to the wild. (Follow this link for a sense of all that we pack into a 10-day Kenya trip!)

Demi in Kenya

Emoticon translation: “Give me 10! Thank you!”

WE Fact: “Ditto to you, Demi.” WE hopes it goes without saying that you don’t need to be a superstar to take part in a ME to WE Trip to Kenya—or anywhere we work. We welcome teens alone, adults and families, university students, companies, educators … you get the idea!

To be clearer, it is the community at large in the Maasai Mara that welcomes WE adventurers. Just as Demi was immersed in the culture, so you may be too. During WE trips, volunteers work as a team on a sustainable development project.

Demi collage 3

“Pure. Joy.”

“Had such an amazing time with these beautiful, intelligent and inspiring girls. Thank you @metowe @wemovement.”

WE Fact: Lovato has been a tireless champion of WE projects in Kenya. On one trip, just for example, she helped to build an X-ray clinic. On this visit, she was embraced by ME to WE Artisans—with thanks and blessings for the proceeds of her Rafiki sales. She was also excited to spend a morning at Kisaruni Girls Secondary School talking with girls about life and dreams.

Demi collage 4

“Water walk.”

WE Fact: The community water walk is a special feature of all our trips to Kenya—a chance for volunteers to work side-by-side with Maasai and Kipsigis women.

“Don’t keep saying you’re impressed with me,” Lovato says of her enthusiastic participation in the chore. “Be impressed with these women.”

Bonus WE Fact: You don’t need to travel to Kenya to participate. The WE Walk for Water campaign is just one way schools and groups raise awareness about safe drinking water. Click here to learn more.

Demi collage 5

“Thank you @wemovement/@metowe”

Right back at you @ddlovato!

 

Click here for more on ME to WE Volunteer Travel.