How one book is helping to fill bookshelves at a primary school in Zimbabwe
"Can't we all just get along?"
That famous sentiment could be said to sum up the thoughts of 6-time traveler Linda Brumagin of Key Biscayne, Florida, during her Ultimate Africa: Botswana, Zambia & Zimbabwe Safari adventure with Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). "I was looking at the animals and how well they got along," she explains. "They share everything and rely on each other, and only kill when they need food. And I thought, 'Wouldn't it be wonderful if humans got along that way?'"
Her Trip Leader, Valentine Gumpo, expanded her appreciation of the wildlife she was viewing with descriptions of the various species and their behavior. When Linda returned home, she was inspired to write down what she had observed—always keeping in mind that theme of harmony and sharing.
She also was inspired to publish what she had written. Illustrating the text with photos she herself had taken during the trip, she published The Watering Hole in October 2011. All net proceeds of the book benefit the Ziga Primary School in Zimbabwe.
The school was in dire straits when it became a Grand Circle Foundation partner in 2010. Some of the classrooms had been condemned, and students were studying in buildings without roofs. So far, the Foundation has built two new classrooms, a storage facility, and new lavatories at the school, and also drilled a borehole to provide the school and village with fresh water.
Travelers on the Ultimate Africa adventure pay a visit to the school during the itinerary, and Linda was touched by what she saw there. "The kids were sitting on the floor, and there were maybe ten books on the bookshelves, but they were so excited to be learning," she recalls.
She knew she wanted to do something to help, so when she had the idea of publishing her book, she contacted Grand Circle Foundation for help with the logistics of making her donation. She had heard a story about a different company that had donated computers to a school without realizing there was no electricity to power them, and she wanted to make sure that her gift would be used for something truly useful for the students.
"I wanted to go through OAT because I knew there's someone there, in Africa, who knows what the needs are," she explains. "So I knew the contribution would be going to the right place and used for what's needed." Linda's donation will be used to purchase books, notebooks, pencils, and other classroom supplies for the children.
An accomplished musician and retired piano teacher, Linda is also a member of her local Writers Guild, and she hopes that more books will follow. "My goal is to write things that let kids learn more about other cultures," she says. "I've been to India, Vietnam, and Africa, where the cultures are so diverse. But once you understand another culture, you become more tolerant. That's why I travel. It's an important way of learning about the world."
Featured in our September/October 2012 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.