Global Sojourns Giving Circle Trip- August 2009 – Southern Africa

What an experience! Our 15 day trip provided us with a very unique opportunity to experience Southern Africa in a meaningful and profound way.

While visiting Global Sojourns’ Giving Circle projects, we were able to glimpse into the lives of the individuals to whom we provide support and to hear amazing stories. We were able to see how our money is being spent and see how we are making a difference. Each day was filled with interesting activities to discover, learn, see, ponder and experience. Overall, the trip maintained a wonderful balance between culture, philanthropy and nature.

TRIP SUMMARY

Johannesburg, South Africa
• Spent our first night at the Safari Club Guest Lodge resting and getting ready for the adventure ahead of us
• Dinner at a colorful Portuguese restaurant (great food!)

Zambia-Livingstone
• Settled in at the ZIG Zag B&B
• Visited with leaders of Tusa Munyandi and Ray of Hope

Livingstone – Chobe,Botswana – Muchenje Safari Lodge
• Drove to Chobe in northern Botswana from Livingstone. Had our first sighting of wildlife! A herd of elephants crossing the highway!
• Early morning and afternoon wildlife drives plus game viewing on foot. Animals we encountered: giraffes, hippos, kudu, warthogs, watched a thousand Cape Buffalo cross the road and herds of elephants, zebras and impalas. We saw many bird species including pelicans and Fish Eagles. We were especially fortunate to see two female lions up close and personal.
• Visited with traveler’s from Europe and other parts of the States.
• Enjoyed beautiful sunsets while enjoying sundowners from the vehicles.
• Gathered around an early morning campfire with tea/coffee before morning rides/activities. • Shared meals with other guests enjoying the delicious buffets in a beautiful setting.

Namibia – Chobe River – one of our favorites: Ichobezi Houseboat
• Viewed wildlife morning, noon and night from our base on the houseboat
• A speedboat took us to the river bank whenever we felt the urge to get closer and explore
• Witnessed spectacular and peaceful sunsets while enjoying sundowners and dinner on the boat
• Visited a local village and learned about daily life and even played volleyball with a few willing villagers
• Heard the indescribable sound of a lion roaring in the middle of the night

Zambia – Livingstone
• Visited the organizations that the Global Sojourns’ Giving Circle supports
• Conversations with staff and the micro-loan recipients
• Visits to local markets where the loan recipients sell their goods
• Accompanied 36 orphans to Victoria Falls on an unforgettable field trip
• Visited a newly built pediatric hospital- donated dolls
• Made visits to patients that are home bound
• Visited the museum in Livingstone along with a tour of the city
• A private boat trip to the exclusive Livingstone Island located in the middle of the Zambezi River at the top of Victoria Falls. It was a special opportunity to walk to the edge of the falls and experience it from this unique perspective and afterwards enjoy tea and treats
• Visited a pre-school that Lynne from Zig Zag is helping support. We donated underwear and games and comfort dolls to 70 preschool children
• Visited the new library at Ray of Hope and donated children’s books
• Visited the studio of a well known Zambian artist Agnes Buya and sat in on a class for young children
• Dinner with Agnes and her artist husband, Lawrence Yombwe, in their home -we were treated to a tasty home cooked meal and chatted about issues in the US and in Zambia
• Visited a group micro-loan project through Ray of Hope. It is a garden project run by HIV/AIIDS patients who are growing crops and selling their produce
• Spent time shopping in local markets

Cape Town, South Africa – Welgelegen Guest House
• Utando Tour with James Fernie to visit community projects in the townships around Cape Town. We learned about the history of the townships, what has happened since Apartheid and how individuals are working to improve life in their communities:
1. Shelter for abused women and children
2. Agricultural gardens in Khayelltsha where women are planting in once barren land and turning it into lush organic gardens providing food and income to locals
3. Volcano Arts Project doing special work with at risk kids teaching arts and life skills. We saw a performance and had a chance to meet the director, Manlesizwe Lufele and visit with the young performers
• Cable ride to Table Mountain/hike fabulous vista’s of the surrounding area
• Visited Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
• Scenic drive/tour from Cape Town to Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope. We saw whales, penguins, ostriches and we were able to do a little shopping
• Dinner with Jikeleza staff- Edmond, Marilyn, Renee and Charlie
• Visited Jikeleza sites, met teachers, students, visited the home of one of the students and observed the amazing talents of the students and share a meal of fish n’ chips with the staff
• Chatted with the girls who attended the empowerment workshops that we sponsor
• Toured Cape Town
• Visited Monkeybiz, a fair trade organization supporting local women artisans who create beaded sculptures
• Were blessed with 5 gorgeous days to take in the beauty of Cape Town and the area around it

– Write up by Paige Hasson- GSGC member

Traveler’s Comments:

“…the warm wind is blowing the scent of the crackling fire over me and I’m being serenaded by the bull frogs in the valley below as our crew is reminiscing over the day’s adventures… I really don’t have the words to describe what I felt and saw today, so suffice to say that I am thankful for having the opportunity to take it all in.” — Peter Macy

“Watching the young Jikeleza dancers and seeing the places they live and hearing of all the challenges that Jikeleza has helped them to overcome made for one of the most eye-opening and inspiring days of the trip.” -–Britt Shaw

“The highlight of the day was the surprise trip Priscilla planned for us to Livingstone Island in the middle of the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls. WOW! A motor boat picked us up at the Royal Livingstone hotel and we rode for 5 minutes and got up close and personal to the falls. After a toast, the guide led us to the edge of the falls, one by one. He held on tight as we looked over the edge! Another WOW! Breathtaking to stand in such a place where the forces of nature overwhelmed all our senses! -–Anne Larsen

“To walk in the animals’ domain is an awesome experience. We were walking in single file when it was time to stop and wait for the 1,000 head of Cape Buffalo to walk by while we calmly (yeah right) stood by and watched!” –Paige Hasson


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