Fay Grindrod reached out to our sister site, Miledonor.com, last year asking for help in securing flights to Tanzania so that she could continue her volunteer work there with Cross Cultural Solutions. She explained that she supports a 12-year old boy who had never been able to go to school until she stepped in to help him. She also helps feed his grandmother and brothers and volunteers every year that she can. She says, “I teach the teenagers survivors skills and give them hope of a better future.”
Fay knows a lot about looking toward a better future. She witnessed the holocaust in the Netherlands as a small child. “I left school at 12 years old–roamed the streets during the war to steal food from the Germans and witnessed human-against-human brutality beyond belief,” she said. Fay now makes her home in New York City. She went back to school at age 50 to receive her GED, graduated with a bachelor’s degree from college at age 58 and received a masters in 1994.
She joined the Peace Corps at age 65 and lived in Lesotho in Southern Africa, where she assisted villagers in obtaining tractors and fertilizer in time for seasonal crops. After her time with the Peace Corps, she volunteered with Cross Cultural Solutions, going to different countries every year until deciding to focus her volunteering at an orphanage in Tanzania, “I feel like I belong there and they call me ‘Bibi,’ which means ‘Grandma’.”
A friend’s daughter told her about MileDonor.com and suggested she apply for a flight to Tanzania, knowing that Fay’s funds would not stretch far enough for her to be able to make another trip. Along with the post on MileDonor, InsideFlyer mentioned the plea for Fay in our magazine and through that plea, we found a donor in California willing to spend his Delta miles to get Fay to Tanzania. Fay said, “I could not believe it. I was very grateful to have a free roundtrip flight to Tanzania!”
To help facilitate Fay getting the free flight, we asked Ben of the PointsPros award booking company if he could lend a hand. He willingly donated his resources for Fay and found business class tickets for her using our mileage donor’s SkyMiles. Fay says, “I traveled to London with Virgin Atlantic. I got a bed and fantastic food, and of course, great service.” All of Fay’s flights were on time and she made it there and back safely. “I am very appreciative that I was the lucky person to be honored with this gift,” she said. “I would have liked to shake the mile donor’s hand.” Regarding Ben, who helped her book her tickets, “I was very grateful for this very nice young man who I also would like to meet very much.”
Fay says, “My time in Tanzania was productive and creative.” The Tuleeni Orphanage that Fay visits had grown to 90 children from the 73 when Fay first volunteered there. The founder of the orphanage, Mama Farji, does her best to educate the children and prepare them for university.
“I teach African teenagers that if I could get out of poverty, they can too,” says Fay.