Sometimes a simple, deep, connecting experience can set waves of inspiration rippling across oceans. This is the case for a family who visited Zimbabwe on a holiday experience and returning home to Australia realised they had made immutable connections inside of them and had the opportunity to join our journey in creating positive change in people’s lives living in vulnerable wildlife areas in Zimbabwe, Botswana & Zambia.
This is the story of a container, filled with meaningful contributions making its way to enable project run by the African Bush Camps Foundation and the communities we partner with. It all started with the Krueger Family reserving an African Safari to Somalisa Acacia in April 2018. Grant and Jacinta Krueger and their two boys, Khody and Owen, were in for a trip of a lifetime which not only unveiled amazing adventures in Zimbabwe but also continued when they returned home, connecting with many others in Australia who share a similar love for Africa, its wildlife and people.
Khody and Owen did some research on where they were going on safari and decided they wanted to visit the Mambanje Community, School and other African Bush Camps Foundation projects bordering Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife reserve, Hwange National Park whilst, staying at Somalisa Acacia camp. In conjunction with this visit, the boys started to collect of items that would be relevant and useful for students at Mambanje School through a platform called “Pack for a Purpose”, which serves to help travellers fill available space in their baggage with meaningful and relevant contributions to the areas they are visiting. A story about Khody & Owen’s efforts was even featured on the Pack for a Purpose website, here.
The visit to Mambanje Community and School was something the family will never forget. They arrived and were immediately embraced by a welcoming nature of its members and the boys were quickly playing soccer with local school children their age. Stationary and other items collected under “Pack for a Purpose” were received with appreciation by the school and included in their inventory to be strategically utilised by the school’s students.
Grant forgot all about his busy transport business – Krueger Transport – and became fascinated with the screenings for the Mobile Cattle Boma initiative at in the village. He started to think, however, whilst sitting by Somalisa Acacia’s campfire with an “ amarula” drink in hand, about how Krueger Transport could recycle some of its waste product and offcuts. The idea of producing Cattle Bomas materials in Australia was born.
Returning to Australia, Grant approached Stuart Donaldson from Polyweld Trailer Curtains, who was enthused by the idea enough to donate all the PVC material for boma screens. Stuart designed and fabricated special pockets with re-enforced sections, where the fence posts would be housed within the boma screens, thus allowing for long durability of the bomas in the harsh environments, being exposed to the outdoor elements 24/7.
Bernie Smith who has worked for over 35 years with Krueger Transport used his extensive experience in manufacturing and his weekend experiences with camping in the bush, to design the steel poles, metal caps, brackets and pegs, all sourced from excess/recycled materials. Bernie also compiled a complete information chart with photos, detailing how everything works and how to put the bomas together very easily. And to make sure the bomas all do go together Bernie made 2 sledgehammers to ensure that the steel poles would go in the often hard and stony ground. Bernie was instrumental in bringing all the container items together and packing the container.
All the staff of Krueger Transport were supportive of the Cattle Boma Initiative. In total 14 Bomas have been shipped to Zimbabwe and will assist in efforts to negate human-wildlife conflict, something that Krueger Transport can be very proud of.
In the meantime, Khody and Owen had realised that many of the Mambanje students did not have ideal footwear for their often long journeys to school and back. This became the focal point of the container for the boys and they decided to have a “shoe drive” and send the shoes in the container with the Cattle Bomas. Supporting them with this was their school Westbourne Grammer. They collected over 300 pairs of shoes and raised funds to the value of AUS$2500.00. They sold chocolate as a fundraiser, staged their own ”garage sale”, announced and gave presentations to their school peers, received major support from the Seabrook Basketball Club. Khody & Owen launched mighty efforts, knowing that their actions would contribute towards empowering the children they had met in Mambanje.
Support began flowing in from elsewhere too, hearing of the opportunity to contribute to the opportunity of a the shipping container being packed. Mim and Bill White assisted with fundraising through the Wyndham Grange Retirement Village and Martha Tomlinson from the village donated 2 electrical medical beds.
With more space available Medearth in Sydney supplied medical equipment including hospital beds, examination beds and other necessary equipment for the clinic in the Mola Community near Bumi Hills Safari Lodge. Medearth is a not for profit organization in Sydney that helps protect and enhance the natural environment by working with a range of partners to recover usable medical supplies and equipment that hospitals no longer want and would otherwise be destined for landfill.
An inspired group of African Bush Camps Foundation volunteers came up with sheets, towels, blankets, pillow slips, baby blankets and clothes, infant play mats, stethoscopes, thermometers, bandages and lots more items to contribute to the Mola Clinic. In addition to this, books and stationary for Mambanje Primary school were added along with wool for the Mambanje knitting ladies and a sewing Machine for the sewing projects in Dete Town.
We would like to acknowledge all of these volunteers; Liz Bentley, Jan Haysom. Sue Adams, Kaye Schonwillie, Glenice White, Jenny Barnett, Marilyn Cunnington, Terry Phippen and the Sorrento Mens Shed, Susan and Howard Thompson. Kylee Harmen, Sue Scheele, Jeanette McRae and the Rye knitting Ladies and Robyn Woodward. A very big thank you to all of them and the assistance of Di & Mile Lyons and Deidre and Ian Minter has been invaluable to ensure that everything was transported to the container for loading.
With all these willing, impassioned supporters all that was needed was a container!
The Linfox Group, Australia’s largest privately-owned logistical company came to the fore and donated a 40ft container. With the expertise of Beau Morgan from NMT Shipping, the container was organized, loaded and is now sailing to Beira in Mozambique before travelling overland to Harare in Zimbabwe.
This has been a big project for everyone concerned and our gratitude extends to all of you for your participation and determination in this project. We look forward with much excitement to the arrival of the container in Harare Zimbabwe around the 18h of April and onward transportation to Mola and Mambanje.