Initial PfaP Connection in Zimbabwe Evolves Into a Huge Commitment to Community
I have never doubted the depths of generosity that human beings are capable of. I was sure when I founded Pack for a Purpose, the traveling public would respond. The Krueger family is a clear example of the depth of that generosity. Below is the third blog we have posted from Khody and Owen. Our gratitude to the family is unending. The Krueger family have gone beyond my wildest expectations.
April last year we went on a trip to Africa with our parents. Before we went on this trip, we found a program called Pack for a Purpose. It is a program that encourages travellers to use the leftover space in their luggage to take much need supplies to extremely poor communities around the world that needed it. It can vary from educational needs, medical supplies or general everyday living needs. The program will tell you exactly what the community in the area you are visiting needs and how to get the supplies to them.
We thought that was great idea and started to collect stationery for a school in Zimbabwe. Originally, we were hoping to get just 5 kilos each to carry onboard the plane in a backpack. By the time it came to travel we had over 40 kilos worth of stationery to get from Australia all the way to a tiny community in Zimbabwe called Mambanje.
So off we went on holidays with not just extra space taken up with stationery but a whole extra suitcase. Once we got to Zimbabwe, we got up at 4:30am, gave up a day of fun sightseeing to travel 5 hours in the hot sun to hand deliver and visit with all the children of the Mambanje community. We were so taken aback by the love and warmth the community showed to us that when we got home to Australia, we wanted to do more.
While visiting the school Owen noticed that most of the children had shoes on that were in a terrible state, soles falling off, no laces, ill fitting, not the type of shoe you would like to walk in to school. Especially if you are walking up to 14 km to and from school each day.
Once home Owen ask mum if there was a way, we could send all our old basketball shoes to Mambanje for the children to wear. The idea seemed far too hard at first, but after a lot of emails, phone calls, and conversations with a Foundation in Zimbabwe that supports local communities, we found a way to get shoes to Zimbabwe. We decided not to just send our preloved shoes but to see what else the community needed and send a whole shipping container full of different supplies to be used all over Zimbabwe.
So off we went again collecting as many used shoes as we could to send in this container. We asked our school community, neighbours, friends, family, and sporting clubs if they had shoes they were growing out of that they would like to donate. We collected, washed, sorted and packed over 300 pairs of shoes. We also found another 20 kilos of stationery and wrote a book on our favourite Australian animals to give to the children of Mambanje.
Along with the shoes, we worked with our father on a project to make Cattle Bomas out of recycled waste materials from semi-trailers. We normally throw out a lot of material and steel, but our dad found a way to turn this into a brand new cattle boma. *FYI a cattle boma is a 10mx10sqm area that the community placed their cattle in at night. By placing the cattle into this boma, it stops the lions attacking the cattle, which stops the farmers killing the lions over attacking the cattle. This helps to end human vs. lion conflict in that area.
Our mum was also in contact with some other families in Melbourne who had been to Mambanje and they were more than happy to help with the project and send some other much needed supplies. We all collected second hand hospital beds and medical equipment, children’s books, baby blankets and mats, a sewing machine, and many other items that will also go to communities around Zimbabwe that are in great need.
We didn’t stop there. We knew how much it was going to cost to send this container so we started to sell chocolates and our own toys/ books online to raise money. All together I think we raised about $2500.
The final piece to the puzzle was to get the container. Again, with the help of our dad, I wrote an email letter to Linfox Australia. Dad and I explained what we were doing and asked if we could buy a container with the money we raised. We were very lucky to have donated a 40 ft. container that can be left and used in Zimbabwe to be used for whatever African Bush Camps Foundation needs it for.
After months of collecting items, raising money and packing the container it is finally on its way to Zimbabwe.