Laura & the Lake Eyasi Women's Projects

For as long as I can remember I have dreamed of working and serving women who are underserved and in need. In high school I traveled to Paraguay as an exchange student, seeing the level of poverty, gratitude, and joy there opened my heart to a different way of existing. The people of Paraguay were very welcoming, filled with expansive amounts of love, helped each other, and had no time or energy for negativity. As a teenager I was stunned by the gratitude and love that the people had for life, for little things (like water and electricity), and for each other. I returned a changed person, ready to take on the world, but also wanting to gain a deeper understanding about how to live in such a self-less and loving manner. They seemed to have very little, yet be filled with joy and love.

My life took many turns after that, I continued to love traveling, serving my community, and gaining more knowledge and education. I have always searched for contentment from less, something I do through backpacking and living with minimal supplies in nature. I currently have a bodywork practice in Madison, Wisconsin. On a daily basis I work with community members to help relieve their physical pain as well as work to help them prevent future problems using corrective exercises and yoga. I strive to provide bodywork for not only those who can afford it, but also spend 10% of my time working with clients who are underserved and cannot afford alternative healthcare therapies. My work is very fulfilling and yet I have continued to look beyond for a way to help women around the world. It is a career that brings me infinite gratitude and joy through helping others, and I feel privileged to be trusted by my clients to help them find ways to live in less pain.

When I heard about the work that Rick and Journey of Solutions is doing in Lake Eyasi, Tanzania I was immediately touched. Learning about this amazing community brought back many of the feelings I had as a teen in Paraguay. Learning about the work Lightness has done to create a welcoming and sustainable community has been very inspiring to me. I am curious to learn more from the people of Lake Eyasi about their culture, their ways, the happiness and gratitude they exhibit despite their needing for basic needs I can't imagine needing for. I feel it is time for me to take this journey to Lake Eyasi, to meet these women, to learn from them about their lives and culture, and to help them in any way I can. We will be helping to build a couple homes while we are there for women who are currently living in huts... but, I know that what my helping hands can give to this community will be nothing compared to what I learn from them and am able to bring home with me.  

I can't make this trip without financial support from my own community here. I appreciate any amount you can give to help me with my trip costs. This is a journey I have wanted to take for many years, and always somehow felt I couldn't afford or didn't deserve to go on. I feel now is the perfect time for me to visit Tanzania, help in any way I can, and bring home a new perspective on the simple things in life.

For more information on the trip, contact Jaima or Rick at Pack, Paddle, & Ski at 585-346-5597 (

Laura and her partner, Gail, who will be joining her on the trip

To make a contribution to help defray Laura's trip costs:

Donations are not tax deductible.

You may also make checks payable to Pack Paddle Ski.
Be sure to indicate "Laura Novak Scholarship" in the memo line!

Mailing address:

Pack Paddle Ski
6237 South Lima Road
Livonia, NY 14487-9787

To make a contribution to the Women's House Building Project:

Journeys of Solutions' Lightness's Women's Projects in Lake Eyasi, Tanzania

You may donate online or by making checks payable to Journeys of Solutions, Inc.

Mailing address:

Journeys of Solutions, Inc.
Bonnie Dupuis, Treasurer
PO Box 28
Webster, NY 14580-0028

Don't forget to note "Women's Projects" in the memo line of your check or as a designation for your online donation!