On every trip where my husband Scott and I Pack for a Purpose, we also like to take a small gift from the two of us for the staff in the camps. This, in addition to the normal tips, is a way to express our special gratitude for the wonderful service and care they provide.
Zambia is a landlocked country and it occurred to me when we were walking on the beach in North Carolina in early May that it might be lovely to take seashells made into jewelry as gifts.
Having gathered the pieces of clam shells and jingle shells, I then needed to turn them into jewelry. For this I knew I needed help. I used the internet to search for jewelry-making classes in Raleigh. I was lucky enough to land on the website of Elizabeth Lynn Strugatz. https://elizabethlynnphd.com/about-2.
Elizabeth graciously volunteered her time and assistance to help us make the jewelry. We of course covered the cost of all the materials. Jewelry-making is something that clearly gives Elizabeth great joy and which she excels at.
Scott and I share the joy of creating something of beauty, and it made the process most exciting. Elizabeth instructed us on cutting the metal. We experienced the exhilaration of hammering in the patterns. Various hammers had different patterns and sizes on the heads, which gave us ample options to express our creativity.
Elizabeth drilled all the holes for the jump rings, filed the metal so it would not be sharp, put in the jump rings, and added her own talents to many of the pieces.
The next major step was applying the resin, which we did in our home.
Our wonderful friend and neighbor Josh brought over his Dremel tool so he could smooth any rough edges that were left from the resin, volunteering two hours of his time. We are thrilled with the result and hope the camp staff in Zambia will be also.
The staff at Kafunta River Lodge, Three Rivers Lodge, Busanga Bush Camp, and Shumba all selected pieces with great enthusiasm. Most of them had never been to the ocean and were delighted to see the small bit of video we took from the beach in North Carolina where we collected the shells.
Below are photos of some of the staff at each camp and the pieces they selected.
Kafunta was a return visit for us. Anke and her husband Ron have been instrumental in supporting the community since they first opened their camp. Going back was a great pleasure and once again, the staff exceeded what would have been expected of great service. Their warmth and pride in their country radiates.
Three Rivers Bush Camp is a sister camp to Kafunta River Lodge. We selected it as a new destination for us with incredible river views, and because they offer a lot of walking opportunities. Ernest, our guide, is an amazing human being, and along with the staff, made sure our time there was most memorable.
At Busanga Bush Camp, we were literally the only guests for two of our three nights. The camp opens at the beginning of June each year. Being the only guests gave us the opportunity to interact more with the staff. We had dinner together both evenings, and along with the laughter and smiles, learned a great deal from each other about our daily lives, hopes, and dreams. Spending more time with the staff enhanced our experience enormously.
Our last five nights in the bush were spent at Shumba Camp. Once again, the staff was extraordinary. Because it was early in the season and the camp was not yet full, we spent three of our five nights after dinner playing cards with some of the staff. Laughter filled the evening, and Felicia, a manager in training pictured here with Arnold, the camp manager, got the unofficial title of “Card Shark”. The staff selected the pendants themselves and were delighted by the video of the ocean.
Our joy and gratitude were magnified by being able to share a part of ourselves with our wonderful hosts. These experiences are imprinted firmly in our hearts.