Who are Dilo and Patricia?
Dilo and Patricia | Ghana meets Malawi
Together we have 30 years of experience on the African continent. Does this mean that we know everything? No, definitely not! Every day we learn. And we learn a lot from each other.
We got to know each other through an online training in which we both participate. When Dilo joined there was an immediate click and Patricia was happy with someone else ‘from’ Africa! It soon became apparent that we are both huge chatterboxes when we feel comfortable. That we both love the countries where we live and really want travelers to experience these African countries as opposed to just take a glance.
In addition, we both try to be as sustainable as possible, both privately and in our work. In Dilo’s case, this was mostly visible in the area of environmental sustainability and in Patricia’s case it is mainly visible in the social area.
That’s not to say that Dilo is anti-social and that Patricia is a huge environmental polluter who sits on elephants. Above all, it means that we complement each other well. Would you like to read more about the origins of Experience Africa? Then read the first blog Patricia wrote.
At Experience Africa we share both our knowledge and our experience
Dilo van Commenee
When I heard that an Eco & Wildlife study tour was going to take me to Africa for the first time in my life, I was bouncing around for weeks. I did everything I could to prepare as best as I could. I watched hours of documentaries on National Geographic, bought half the bookshop to hand out in schools and of course ordered the safari outfits I saw on the internet. Finally, I got on the plane to Tanzania, in my khaki-colored zip-off pants and with binoculars around my neck.
Fortunately, I have learned a lot in recent years…
I have traveled through several countries in Southern and East Africa and lived and worked in South Africa for six years in eco-tourism. But here in Malawi I really feel completely at home. I am co-owner of an ecotour company. I always had a huge passion for wildlife, and understand better and better that nature conservation can only be successful, if you involve local communities.
As soon as I met Patricia, I knew that we complemented each other well. Together we contribute with our course and books to a world, in which travel has a positive impact on both people and nature. And of course also on you, the traveler!
For as long as I can remember I wanted to help poor people in Africa. In 2001, I finally did! I went to Ghana to volunteer Wow, I was so excited and a bit scared, traveling alone, to Africa. I didn’t know anyone and in those days there were no cell phones.
For the first few days or maybe even weeks, I was amazed by everything. The language, the people, the houses, the food, the transportation and all things were carried on heads. Furthermore, everyone called out to me. I felt so overwhelmed.
I came with a major, expensive organization that partnered with a local Ghanaian organization and I thought I had completed a proper preparation for volunteering. Nothing was further from the truth. I taught independently, but I am not a teacher at all. I was definitely not busy volunteering, because it was actually unnecessary support.
In retrospect, I wish so much I had had a better idea of what I was going to do before I left. How I could have done a better job of contributing.
I would have liked to be more aware of the fact that as a volunteer you mainly help yourself and not the ‘poor’ children in Africa.
Traveling or volunteering is super cool and I wish such experiences for everyone. And that makes it even more exciting to be able to help you, together with Dilo, by means of our course and books!
What you really need to know about us…..
- Patricia’s first trip to Ghana was before social media and smartphones existed. She’s very happy about that, because she was a real white savior.
- Despite Patricia’s many activities, Patricia makes sure she always has time for her hammock.
- Dilo learns a lot from Patricia about social sustainability and Patricia knew almost nothing about animal suffering in Africa.
- We love a good, respectful discussion and realize that there are many truths.
- Both Patricia and Dilo work in hospitality in Ghana and Malawi. Patricia runs a guesthouse with a social mission and Dilo organizes eco-tours.
- We both have a vegetable garden, but Patricia’s harvest always pales in comparison to Dilo’s.
- Dilo has an obsession with sunsets. Especially if he can drink something tasty with it!
- Patricia enjoys watching the birds fluttering in her garden in Ghana, but has no idea what the names of the birds are. So it’s a good thing that Dilo keeps a list of all the bird species he sees in Africa.
- We both like to hike, but Dilo whines when it gets too steep.
- Dilo can’t wait to meet Patricia and her children in real life.
- Our Zoom meetings always run late, but Dilo doesn’t think he’s a chatterbox.
We want you to experience Africa!
This is what we wish for you and what we can help you with. Of course, you can figure everything out yourself before you start your adventure in an African country. But how do you know what information to look for? Asking questions in travel groups on Facebook is also possible. But how do you know you will get answers from people who have knowledge and experience?
Experience, more fun and more impact are the focus of our online course for volunteers and interns in Africa. We have combined our knowledge and experiences so that in the end you know what is sustainable and what is not. You will be aware of your role in Africa and how you can have a positive impact. And above all, because you will gain many insights, your Africa experience will be much more fun for both you and the people you meet in Africa!
Get to know Malawi and Ghana
The excitement of travelling starts with the preparation! Especially when you use the E-books of Experience Africa during your preparation!
Patricia and Dilo will tell you all the ins and outs of Ghana and Malawi. Think of the practical preparation, etiquette, what to eat, how to travel and much more!
And of course, as you can expect from us, with an emphasis on sustainability and fun!