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Children in The Wilderness – April 2014

April 17, 2014 Southern Africa Bush Tails

The school grounds at both Ngamo & Ziga Primary Schools had virtually nothing when it came to having a specifically designed play-area for their junior primary children and most playtime was spent sitting under trees or playing in the dust. Playgrounds are extremely useful tools for gross motor skill development in children (i.e. physical activities such as running, swinging, climbing, crawling etc) and as such, it is an essential part of a child’s development in their early years.


In March 2013, Children in the Wilderness approached Grand Circle Foundation for assistance with funding and it was agreed that it was time to develop a playground for the children at these two schools. With the use of both new & recycled materials GCF provided the resources and community members from Ziga & Ngamo were encouraged by CITW to help build swings, seesaws, and climbing frames as well as a rustic “summer-house”, which provides shade during the hot summer months. Not only is a playground important for fun, but it provides activities for children in their free time and encourages free-play, which is very important for the development of their imaginations. The project was completed in November 2013 and the children and teaching staff are extremely excited about their colorful new playgrounds.

The benefits of improved manual dexterity and creative, fun play-time will not only mean positive motor-skill development but also brings huge smiles to each and every child.

Young San girl with terminal cancer sees the ocean for the first time, Namibia, March 2014
Rudi and Marleece van Vuuren from Naankuse Lodge phoned Rob Moffet, Wilderness Safaris Namibia Marketing, regarding a little San girl called Jostaphine. She came to Windhoek from one of the very remote villages to see a doctor and then learned that she had terminal cancer. She didn’t have long to live and her one wish was to see the ocean before she passed away. Rudi and Marleece just enquired about a possible flight on Wilderness Air to Swakopmund but Rob was so moved that he offered her and Marleece to travel to the Kulala’s, Swakopmund and then to Ongava Lodge. She had such a wonderful time and loved all the people she met and of course, seeing the ocean. Everyone at Wilderness was incredibly sad to hear that only a few days after she travelled to our lodges, that she passed away, our condolences are with her family and also her friends at Naankuse.
Toka Leya Donates Solar Pumps and Water Tanks to Sinde Village, Zambia , March 2014
Wilderness Safaris’ official handover of two solar pumps, four water tanks and two water troughs to Sinde village in Zambia took place on Wednesday, the 26 th of February 2014. In collaboration with the village headmen, this generous donation was funded by guests from Toka Leya Camp and will greatly assist the community with access to clean water.

“Water is as much about social welfare, as it is about education. The availability of suitable water at the school and in the centre of the village, where the pumps and troughs were installed, ensures that children do not have to walk long distances in the dry season to collect water and, therefore, have more time available to concentrate on their schoolwork”, said Dr Sue Snyman, Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Programme Director. 

Snyman and Petros Guwa, Toka Leya General Manager, regularly meet with the village headmen and school’s Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) to address the community’s priority needs and identify sustainable projects to improve the lives of Sinde’s inhabitants. According to Snyman, “It is extremely rewarding working with the Sinde community as they are wonderful people who are proactively involved in working together to better the lives of everyone in the village. When we were building the water troughs, people from the village came to assist as the project benefits the whole village.”

Sinde village is situated approximately 30 minutes’ drive from Toka Leya Camp and guests are given the opportunity of experiencing a village tour, which includes visiting the pre-school, village centre, local shop, a homestead and Twabuka Community School, guided by a local village guide. Dave and Sally Pearson and Dennis Manalo generously funded the solar pump and two water tanks that were installed at Twabuka Community School. The solar pump and two water tanks installed in the centre of Sinde village were funded by Marci and Sree Kotay and Matt and Kay Franks, all guests who had experienced the village tour.

Drainage and water troughs were also built at both sites and the water gathered at the school will be used for its vegetable garden to supplement the government feeding scheme and to sell any excess produce to raise money for the school. An electric fence will also be erected around the vegetable garden and Snyman and Guwa will be providing training related to vermiculture and conservation agriculture in the coming months.

During her speech at the handover, the Headmistress of Twabuka Community School thanked Wilderness Safaris and Toka Leya for their ongoing partnership and said that the installation of the solar pump and water tanks was indeed a blessing and very exciting for the schoolchildren. “Our pupils can now draw water from a tap just like children in urban areas. The availability of water will make it possible for the school to run most of its projects, such as gardening, tree planting and greening the school. Before, the borehole used to run dry by the third term which affected our students’ attendance. But now that is a story of the past. Indeed, Wilderness Safaris, Toka Leya, you are our everyday partners; thank you.”