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14 Jan

South Africa

Goodmorning my loves!! I can’t believe we’re already 2 weeks into the new year! I’m still at the stage where I hesitate when writing “2019”! These past few weeks have been so busy and somewhat hectic… recovering from my emergency surgery (appendectomy), and celebrating the holidays and New Year all at the same time with my family from Hawaii. Now it’s back to work mode! Feeling especially motivated this year but before we leave 2018 behind, I wanted to share our final trip of the year with all of you, South Africa with Johnson & Johnson that brought so much perspective and awareness. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have travelled to such a dream destination with the most amazing group of people. Johnson and Johnson brought the group of us to South Africa to be part of the Global Citizen Festival which raised a commitment of over $7billion that will be used to help end extreme poverty in the world, as well as HIV, Neglected Tropical Diseases that can be debilitating and in some cases fatal, and more. Johnson & Johnson also made a major announcement about the incredible research they are doing and how close they are to creating a vaccine for HIV which would help to eradicate the virus within our lifetimes!

We were also privileged enough to be introduced to an incredible organization called mothers2mothers, which provides education and health resources to mothers who have contracted HIV so they know how to best take care of themselves and prevent spreading the virus to their own children. They also employ and train over 1000 women living with HIV and help them carry financial security for their families. During our trip, World Aids Day marked its 30th anniversary and we had the privilege of visiting the Dark City community to go into the homes and speak with some of the families that have been affected by HIV. I was so inspired to see these women who have not only taken control of the virus and learned how to live healthy lives with it, but also become mentors through mothers2mothers, and are now determined to be someone else’s hero.

Thandeka is a mother who has two children and is pregnant with her third and through mothers2mothers has been able to receive the education and health resources and support to keep from transmitting the virus to them. Eunice was another mother we met with, a registered nurse who also contracted the virus but was able to keep her children HIV negative much in part due to the support of @mothers2mothers. Both of these incredible mamas serve as Mentor Mothers with the organization, using their personal success stories to support new families affected by the virus and educating them and their surrounding communities to help break some of the stigma around it. Africa has a shortage of 4.2 million healthcare workers and this number is rapidly increasing. Mentor Mothers work at the understaffed health facilities in their local communities making sure that women and families get the support and medication they need. Real life heroes ❤️

We also did some sightseeing while in Johannesburg and couldn’t wait to get in some Safari time!  I always had a small obsession with The Lion King growing up so this was a dream come true to see these beauties so up close and personal! It was surreal seeing elephants, monkeys, giraffes, and cheetahs walk right past our vehicle. I’ll never forget what it was like being so close to these beautiful creatures, truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Jessi Malay wearing Marissa Webb Pants

Jessi Malay wearing Marissa Webb

I met some of the most warm, strong, and kindhearted people, alongside the most stunning natural beauty and diversity in cultures. I’m so grateful to have ended the year with the trip of a lifetime and something that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life! I fell in love with this place and can’t wait to plan another trip back in the future. A HUGE thank you to Johnson & Johnson for this amazing experience, all that they are doing to help improve quality of life in these communities and ours, and for an adventure of a lifetime!

XO, Jessi 

36 Comments
  • Roses for Fridays | by mia

    Ohhh I hope you are feeling and doing much better by the day. Thank God it is over now looking on the bright side. Have yourself a fabulous week Mademoiselle Jessi!

    🌸🍃ROSES FOR FRIDAYS 🌸🍃| by mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

    January 14, 2019 at 2:04 pm Reply
  • Leslie Hunter

    This is so inspiring <3 Thank you so much for sharing and hope you are feeling better Jessi! Take care of yourself :)

    January 14, 2019 at 6:11 pm Reply
  • Emma Brown

    This looks like an amazing trip Jessi! I love the why behind this trip. I’m sure all these women are so thankful for the help from mothers2mothers and people like you :)

    January 14, 2019 at 6:16 pm Reply
  • Carolyne Spence

    I recently came across this organization on instagram and was so inspired. I love anything that empowers women :) Also, I love these photos, they are so good!

    January 14, 2019 at 6:41 pm Reply
  • Mercy

    Such a heartwarming story! Good on you to participate and support and went on a safari as well, that must be so fun.

    http://www.busyandfab.com

    January 14, 2019 at 7:07 pm Reply
  • docdivatraveller

    Such a wonderful trip! Enjoy to the fullest!
    http://www.docdivatraveller.com

    January 15, 2019 at 12:03 am Reply
  • A Trendy Life

    I visited Africa last year and it was a wonderful experience. I like your photos very much.
    Kisses

    http://www.atrendylifestyle.com

    January 15, 2019 at 1:01 am Reply
  • Ewa Macherowska

    Such a beautiful post! x

    http://www.evdaily.blogspot.com

    January 15, 2019 at 1:50 am Reply
  • Jenny

    What an amazing charity. I’m so happy for those women and all the others who benefit/ become mother mentors but it is also so sad how much Africa is lacking in medical workers. I had no idea it would be such a high number >< At least you're spreading awareness and hopefully it'll get better soon, especially with the big breakthrough with HIV vaccinations. All my prayers are sent to these women!! Looks like you had a really amazing time and, on a lighter note, I love all your outfits!!

    Jenny | localleo.co.uk

    January 15, 2019 at 3:52 am Reply
  • Lisa Autumn

    Girl this is amazing! You are such an angel!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

    January 15, 2019 at 7:13 am Reply
  • Monique | Little Miss Mon Bon

    What a gorgeous, smiling family you had the privilege of meeting <3 and you were there for such a good cause too! I love how glam you manage to look even on safari – I don't think you could look sloppy-casual if you tried!

    xx
    Mon
    Little Miss Mon Bon

    January 15, 2019 at 4:53 pm Reply
  • Allison Dunn

    Wow – your trip looked absolutely fab! ….and so do you!
    I keep struggling to remember to write out 2019 instead of 2018 too lol!

    xo, allie
    http://www.champagne-tuesdays.com

    January 16, 2019 at 10:42 am Reply
  • Radi

    Love this travel post Jessi. I’m still dreaming of visiting a safari :)
    Beautiful outfit looks!

    http://www.fashionradi.com

    January 17, 2019 at 12:02 am Reply
  • Susanne - Bag at you

    Wow your experiences sound and look absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing your amazing journey with us! Btw, really loving that colourful dress on you, so chic! Big Xx Susanne – http://bagatyou.com

    January 17, 2019 at 7:03 am Reply
  • Jessica

    This is beautiful dear. So many beautiful faces out there. Incredible photos as always!
    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

    January 18, 2019 at 7:52 pm Reply
  • Jenelle

    What a way to end the year! And I had no idea that Johnson&Johnson did anything like this. It’s a surprise to me, but a good one. We are set to visit South Africa in June and I am really excited too.
    xx Jenelle | http://www.inspiringwit.com

    January 20, 2019 at 2:51 am Reply
  • Gabi

    This is so beautiful! I absolutely love the photos, super aesthetic and inspiring.
    xGabi | https://gabiwahl.com

    January 21, 2019 at 10:27 am Reply

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