Visitors and Volunteers: Brian Gaisford’s Hemingway Safari Group 2009

Recently we enjoyed a visit by a group of people on safari. Swaziland has some of the best game parks in the world, and our friend Brian Gaisford leads safari groups as part of his Hemingway Gallery and Photographic Safaris outfit, based in New York (www.hemingwaygallery.com).

As many of you know, shipping anything to and from Swaziland is costly and unreliable to say the least. Many people want to donate much-needed items but unfortunately we can’t usually take them because there is no good way to get the packages. The best way for us to bring items to and from Swaziland is actually carrying them with our luggage. Enter Brian and his safari group- and their extra duffel bags.

Brian was able to send us $7000 and Brian and friends were able to gather many donated items- shoes, clothing, etc- in New York. His safari group this year consisted of 12 people, including John and Barbara Costantino, who won a safari for two at the Cabrini Mission Foundation Gala fundraising auction in 2007.

So how to get this stuff to our remote location in Swaziland? Each person actually carried on two extra duffel bags full of supplies for their flight to Johannesburg, then they drove to Swaziland, visiting St. Philip’s Mission, with a trailer of supplies.

Here is the safari group with us and all the stuff hand-carried by them.

We hosted everyone for a small lunch.

Some of the children put on a show (of course!) with some wonderful traditional song and dance.

More of the show…

These girls are very good singers.

Brian was presented with a basket that was handmade by one of the children’s mothers. He writes: “There was a note to me with the basket and when I showed it to my group, it brought all to tears. Thanks so much for that and the basket now hangs with the note in my house.”

We are very grateful to Brian and the safari group for visiting and bringing the supplies. The supplies mean so much to us and the children who often have only one set of clothes and shoes. We especially recognize the extra effort made by Brian and the group in adding this visit on to their safari vacation. It’s amazing what can happen when people choose to participate by volunteering and find creative ways to help. THANK YOU!

Blessings and love,
Srs. Barbara and Diane