What do we do? What is the main objective behind the MTR trips?
Making the Road trips (better referred to as travel seminars) are not giraffe, gun or golf trips. They are not your average prepackaged tour. They are for creating relationships and fostering mutual understanding among people across continents and generations. Every trip is carefully designed to maximize interactions with people on the ground who provide an inside perspective on their community and country, their challenges, strengths and weaknesses. From the very first trip to Southern Africa in 1980, everything has been rooted in relationships and relationship building.
Quality and Depth: these are the distinguishing features of Making the Road trips, whether you are traveling in Southern Africa, Cuba, South America, or the South and West Sides of Chicago. It is the quality of the people one gets to know and the depth of the knowledge that one gains.
Who can participate in an MTR trip? Will I get to meet ordinary people during my trip?
MTR trips are available for young and old, from ages eight to eighty. Meeting people, all types and all kinds, is a signature mark of an MTR journey.
Is it “safe” to go to South Africa? Why do the MTR trips go to countries beyond South Africa?
Africa, especially South Africa, gets an unfair ‘rap.’ Nowhere in the world is perfectly safe, but let it be noted that MTR trips are based on experience and wisdom. The safety and comfort of MTR participants is the first prerequisite for an MTR trip. MTR travel is led by people with long experience and seasoned knowledge of Southern Africa and of all Making the Road destinations.
Why do MTR trips go to countries beyond South Africa?
From its start back in 1980, MTR’s regional focus has been based on the premise that a genuine understanding of any one country in the region, including South Africa, depends on understanding the region as a whole. Through the years, tour participants have seen the benefits of this approach in their time in Mozambique, Namibia, and other countries in the region.
How does MTR get people ready to make the trip? What kinds of health precautions should people take who are making the trip?
Preparations: MTR provides background information and
in-depth orientation for MTR travel.
Health: MTR refers people to the United States Government’s Center for Disease Control and to physicians with years of work on the African continent.
Note that all international travel requires a valid passport, which can take at least eight weeks to obtain once you have all the required documents. It is best to apply for or renew your passport well in advance of your travel date, and you can see the requirements and instructions here.
What are the trips like? Will I have time to read and reflect?
While there are commonly shared elements within MTR trips, every trip is unique with bends and twists unique to the particular group making the trip. MTR sponsors and organizes tours based on real people’s backgrounds and interests, whether they are youth groups, women’s groups, professional or church groups. Tours can also be constructed around particular events like elections, sporting and cultural events, conferences and festivals. While all travel is impacted by a finite amount of minutes, hours, days and weeks, MTR firmly believes that throughout any trip time for rest, reflection and “taking stock” is an imperative that enhances the quality of the over-all undertaking.
What will someone get out of travel with Making the Road?
A 2007 MTR participant answered this best when she summarized her experience with the passage that follows:
The Making the Road Trip was an experience that I have never had in my young 30 years. It was my first of many future trips to the continent of Africa. I met people that I’d never imagined meeting, I’d seen things that I never thought I’d see. I was forced to be vulnerable and a courageous and human. I learned and I heard and I listened. I saw the beauty, the ugly and more of the beauty intertwined in the ugly. I saw the disparities, the inequalities and the legacy of the cruelty imposed on an entire race of people, I saw first hand the perseverance of those very people and their descendents. But, there in the midst of it all I saw the smiles, I embraced the love, I felt the empowerment that empowered me. I heard the laughter and the tears of joy. I was there forming friendships that would have otherwise been nonexistent hadn’t it been for this voyage to finding myself and my role in this world. I do not see things or people regardless of race, class or gender in the same way in which I once did. I have been challenged to question my own beliefs, social consciousness and politics. Making the Road trip to Africa is an informative, educative, fun, exciting and experimental trip that anyone with eyes should see, anyone one with ears should hear, any one with hands and a heart should feel, anyone with a nose should smell the salt water from the Indian Ocean and anyone with a tongue should taste of the goodness that Africa has to offer and share. -Ms.Rubina Diggs, a Chicago educator
For additional testimonials, click here.