Giving more and getting more!


| vschneps@queenscourier.com |

apples

Children in Cape Town enjoying apples

The group I traveled with on Safari in Africa supports several charitable groups on the continent. I had the privilege of visiting two of them. What a thrill it was to see the power of giving.

While in Cape Town, my Micato Safaris guide Alan Peterson took me and my traveling companion to visit Rosie, who operates a soup kitchen in “Shantytown,” a community of one-room shacks and schools.

We stopped on the way at a well-stocked supermarket and bought bags of fruits and vegetables.

When we arrived the children who Rosie feeds ran to us with big smiles on their little faces and helped unload our van. I think some of the bags were bigger than they were.

The pantry seemed empty so I was happy to see that the clean and tidy commercial-style kitchen was ready to cook what we had brought.

It made my heart warm when children squealed with delight as they ate the apples we had brought. No candy here.

It was a glimpse of another slice of life — very different from what we saw in the affluent waterfront Cape Town neighborhood of our hotel.

I was so pleased we could help and I know many of the Micato Safari guests continue to help.

At the end of my safari adventure, visiting the majestic, stunningly beautiful Victoria Falls in Zambia, we went to a school in Simonga Village only a few miles from our Singita Lodge. We walked through the little town of 300 people with tiny thatched-roof one-room homes.

The village is very primitive with water coming once a week, no indoor plumbing and water containers made from discarded oil barrels. Our guide told me one recent visitor donated wheelbarrows so it would be easier for villagers to cart the water to their distant huts.

Micato Safaris supports the local school with scholarships and uniforms. We met the principal and Astona, a graduate of the school. He acts as the little school’s public relations person and he showed us the gong he struck to end the day in years gone by. It’s done the same way decades later. They shared how their mission had changed from simply teaching the 3 R’s to now educating girls about the prevention of pregnancy and AIDS. They were proud to say for the last two years they had no pregnant girls in this schoolhouse, which runs to the sixth grade.

When I visited the classroom, I took pictures of the children on my iPad. I turned it around to show them and I was taken aback that they knew to run their fingers over the screen to scroll through the photos. It was obvious that even in this little village, the children had learned to use the technology.

The world gets smaller and smaller.

I learned that I could continue to help the children I met through Americashare, a foundation Micato set up where they donate money for children with every safari they book. So it’s good to know that the children I visited became part of a continuing commitment. Readers who want to donate should go to www.americashare.com.

Caroline and Michael Weisser, Blake Sohmer, Justin Sherman and Lucas Weisser

Rosie, children in Cape Town