Last December, my family and I were very fortunate to experience a ‘trip-of-a-lifetime’ adventure to South Africa and Zambia. Our vacation was made indelibly more meaningful and personal by working with Pack for a Purpose. Here’s why….
First, just a bit of background about my family and the planning of our trip. My family is originally from South Africa; we immigrated to the Boston, Mass area back in 1977. Despite being thousands of miles apart, we have stayed quite close to our remaining relatives in South Africa, plus those that have subsequently immigrated to Australia. It has been THE dream of my mom’s to one day have the entire family reunite in South Africa: her generation (her and her sister), my generation (my brother and I and our cousins and our spouses) plus the next generation (including my children, aged 11 and 8). Luckily, her dream became a reality during the last two weeks of December of last year (2015) when we traveled to South Africa and Zambia.
While planning for the trip, my wife, Jennifer, was directed to Rebecca and the good folks at Pack for a Purpose. The camp that we stayed at in Zambia- Toka Leya- is affiliated with Pack for a Purpose so we packed needed school supplies for the Twabuka middle school in Sinde Village. Sinde Village is about 20 minutes by car away from Toka Leya. Our fantastic guide, Godfrey, brought us to the village one morning so that we could see the village and the children and also give the school administrators the school supplies.
We arrived at the village on a scorching morning (easily 110 degrees). We were greeted first by our guide who was also a teacher at the school. We were also quickly surrounded by a group of young children who held our hands easily and came with us as we toured the village.
My parents and my wife and I will always remember the amazing juxtaposition of the children’s smiling faces with the incredible poverty of the village. It is my hope that my kids (again, aged 8 and 11) will remember this too. Since we’ve been back home we have talked often about how lucky we are and how we need to give back to not just our community but communities like Sinde Village and others around the world. The experience of actually seeing and being with the children of Sinde Village will hopefully give us all perspective, humility and gratefulness for many years.
We hope to return one day to the beautiful, incredible continent of Africa. Meantime, thank you Pack for a Purpose, for everything that you have done and continue to do!