As the all female crew reached the 10,000km mark in their three-month African expedition, Elephant Ignite expedition‘s Ballito representative Yolande Kruger said it was rewarding to witness first-hand the difference their fundraising efforts have made at Kasungu.
“Their elephant population had dropped from 2,000 in 2009 to only 56 in 2016. Remke Lasance from the Kasungu Elephant Foundation runs the most amazing community upliftment project and gave us a wish list of items required to help not just the community, but also the elephants in the reserve. We donated funds to install a borehole and waterpump to this community bordering on the reserve where the human-elephant conflict is extreme,” said Kruger.
Before the people had access to water from the borehole and pump, the women used to enter the reserve to collect water putting them at risk from the elephants. Also in just a few months Remke’s team had upskilled the community to grow their own oyster mushrooms as the first step in a permaculture initiative.
The indigenous oyster mushrooms were previously harvested inside the reserve during the growing season, but now they can cultivate the mushrooms all year round under controlled conditions.
After the official unveiling of the waterpump, the crew enjoyed a traditional African meal with the chief and elders after which their zeal was tested when they joined the locals preparing swales to manage water runoff in the fields.
So far the expedition has visited 14 projects, traversing South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Malawi.
This epic journey is focused on community upliftment, youth education, publicawareness on wildlife crime and poaching with a fundraising drive to support the organisations that are fighting the battles on the front-line.
The expedition still has roughly 4,000km and another five weeks of travel ahead of them with numerous stops in Tanzania and Kenya