By Susanna Casper, Groups Account Executive, Overseas Adventure Travel
Before my husband and I left for Ultimate Africa: Botswana, Zambia & Zimbabwe Safari, we had heard of people in the past donating a goat while visiting the Day in the Life village featured on the adventure. I contacted our Trip Leader and told him that my husband and I wanted to purchase a goat for the Hwange village we’d visit in Zimbabwe. We had no idea how much a goat costs, and figured a couple hundred dollars or so. Our Trip Leader, Bryson, said, “We will make it work.” He was very excited.
When we got to Africa, we found out that our Day in the Life would be at the end of our tour in Zimbabwe, so we had plenty of time to make the arrangements. When I asked Bryson how much we would need to pay for a goat, he told me approximately $45. I thought, “Wow! I can’t even buy a crown roast for $45!” So then we decided we’d buy a pair. Bryson shared what we were doing with the rest of the group, and I gave them the option to pitch in for a third goat. The entire group got so excited!
We ended up purchasing three goats and actually went to the goat dealer to pick up the goats and put them on the motor coach. We presented them to the village. To be clear that the gift was for the entire village and not just the chief, Bryson instructed me to present the goats by saying: “These are for the entire community to share in the sustenance that they’ll bring, and hopefully your village will prosper.”
I can’t tell you the feeling that we all had. Bryson told me that Zimbabweans do not show affection like they did that day. One woman was very close to tears, as was another who wouldn’t stop hugging me. It was a moment I will cherish forever.
Since then, I have shared the experience and other O.A.T. associates have done the same. I’ve also had group leaders challenge their group members. It makes so much sense and it’s easier than figuring out what to bring for a gift. The gratitude was overwhelming.
By the way, I named our goats Crosby, Stills, and Nash because when I got to Africa, I saw the Southern Cross for the first time!
Experience a Day in the Life of the village of Hwange when you join O.A.T. for Ultimate Africa: Botswana, Zambia & Zimbabwe Safari. Get a glimpse of the experience in this video: