I didn’t think it would be possible. I could not imagine how I could ever get there. I had resigned myself (sorrowfully) to the idea that my daughter would be in Botswana for a year, and I would not get to see her—or to get any glimpse of her amazing new world. We knew we couldn’t afford to bring her home for Christmas; and we didn’t see any way that we could get over there. I was just going to have to stop worrying about her and accept the fact that I would not see her for nearly 10 months.
Then, the miraculous happened. First of all, I had a visit with my wonderful sisters at the beach, who all encouraged me to think creatively about getting there to see Becky. My sister, Katie, told me about how people can donate frequent flyer miles to other people. My other sisters talked about ways to raise money for the trip. My youngest daughter, Josie, said she was determined to go, and, since she suspected I would not let her go by herself, she offered to pay for herself and for part of my trip out of her hard-earned babysitting money.
After I got back from the beach, my sister, Sheppie, sent me a donation in the mail, “for your trip.” That was just the beginning of a string of incredibly wonderful, generous acts by friends and family. Here’s a summary: my wonderful roommate from college, Cindy, donated her frequent flyer miles to me; my incredible mother-in-law, Henny, gave hers to Josie.
So, we knew we could get to Africa—and that we could even stop in Holland on the way to visit with family! But we still had no idea how we could afford to do anything once we got there. And then, the miraculous happened: a friend of a friend of my husband’s, a wonderfully generous man who will remain nameless (in case he doesn’t want the publicity), offered us the use of his house and his car, for an extremely moderate fee, during our visit. And, he told us how to see all the things we wanted to see—the elephants, the lions, the rhinos, etc.—without breaking the bank. He told us about the out-of-the-way nature parks that tourists don’t usually visit. He gave us tips about how to camp and cook your own food, instead of staying in luxury safari lodges. As things turned out, he even designed a 9-page itinerary for us, with tips on all the little things we should know, such as which line to stand in for Customs, how much a taxi ride from the airport should cost, what to bring with us from the States, etc. I consider him our Fairy Godfather for this trip—and this is a man that we will not even get the chance to meet in person, since he and his wife will be away on a cruise when we are in Botswana!!!!
In any case, this post is the first in a series about our trip to Africa. I thought our readers might find it interesting to share in the adventures of a 57-year-old woman and her 15 and 19 year old daughters, as they take on Africa! I hope you will, anyway, since I know I’m going to feel like writing about it. As my Fairy Godfather said in a recent email, “This will probably turn out to the be the adventure of a lifetime for you.”
P.S. The pictures in this post were taken by our daughter in Africa!!!