Here we go again ready for another holiday and ready to Pack for a Purpose. When choosing our next family holiday the vote was unanimous – back to Africa. We had fun helping mum plan the holiday and look at all the different places we could go. We all decided right at the start that wherever we stayed, we must be able to do another Pack for a Purpose. Traveling just would not be the same if we could not do a little something for those we are going to visit.
After a little bit of research, we found that 2 of the lodges we were looking at had community programs going that we thought we would be able to help with. Royal Zambezi Lodge in Zambia was collecting items for a school in the local area and African Bush Camps Linyanti Ebony in Botswana was collecting items for a sewing group.
We knew right from the start that we were very limited on luggage this time due to the some of the small planes were taking so we concentrated on specific items.
At our school all of us are taught to play the recorder. After we finish learning the recorder, we all toss it in a draw never to been played again. So, we decided to ask our friends to search their draws and donate something that is just taking up space, in total we collected over 15 recorders. A parent from our school also volunteered to make some book bags for the school. We know the young kids would love these brightly coloured bags.
We were not sure where to start for collecting sewing supplies so mum suggested we talk to our grandma. She could ask her sewing group and friends if they had any old buttons, zippers, cotton, thread, pins, needles, scissors and anything else you need to make a clothing. The donations came flooding in and we had to make some tough decisions about what we could fit into a 14kg bag. We hated to leave anything behind but I think we made the right choices with what we packed. Anything that was left at home has been placed in a box for next time.
One of the highlights was visiting the Kachikau Sewing Group which is run by African Bush Camps Foundation in Botswana. Our camp manager, Cassie, and our guide, Esse, heard about what we had brought with us and arranged for us to go visit.
We were up before the sun to travel over 4 hours each way to visit a small village. It was very hot and we had to stop a few times for roadblocks that consisted of zebras or elephants blocking the track or to get our jeep out of the sand it became bogged in.
We didn’t know what to expect as we arrived at a very small house but we were warmly welcomed by some lovely ladies. We spent time with them listening their stories, learning about what they make, how much they enjoy sewing and the problems they face. We even had a laugh with them as they made us try on the school uniforms to sell.
As we were leaving we gave them the bag of donated supplies and I have never seen such happy faces. They were so excited to discover hundreds of buttons and zippers along with all the other items. We said goodbye and left knowing with a little bit of effort from us, this group of women were extremely happy.