Here's a MEDIA RELEASE from Tuesday!
A dream of living in the Kruger
by: Leólynn Smith
7/15/2008 9:23:00 AM
NELSPRUIT - An American feminist icon, journalist and women’s rights activist once said, "Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning."
Growing up in the Lowveld, Mgoddard, who prefers to be known as such, has been a lover of the Kruger National Park ever since her father used to take her for regular day visits to the park.
"We used to leave home at 04:00 or 05:00 and wait outside the gate for it to open, usually Numbi. We would drive up to Skukuza, have a picnic lunch and then drive back again, leaving the park just before closing time. I still treasure those memories."
From these memories her dream was formed - to spend a year in the Kruger National Park. In 1998, she moved with her family to Qatar in the Middle East and was able to visit the park only once a year for a few days.
Her two daughters, Megan and Carmen, went off to attend university and this made it even more difficult to go to the park as the girls’ holidays had to be taken into consideration.
Mgoddard very often has to keep herself busy when her husband is away from home for long periods.
"One day I was reading the SANParks Forum, of which I am an active member, and the idea came to me how wonderful it would be to go to the Kruger for a whole year! Needless to say it took some effort to convince my husband, but he was very supportive and agreed."
But why do it alone? Mgoddard says it is to show that a woman can spend a year here alone and be safe. Another reason is to "post daily reports and pictures on the forum and bring Kruger closer to those who have unfortunately never or only once experienced the magic of what it has to offer".
But before she could go on this trip, it required extensive planning. At first Mgoddard was intending to start the trip in seven years’ time. A tragic accident, however, made her reduce the planning period to 18 months. "I lost a very close friend of mine a few years ago and it’s always been on my mind. Then our friends’ son, who was like our own son, died in a car accident."
It was then that she realised that she should go sooner as life was too short to only dream of something you would really like to do.
Such a trip requires extensive planning and sponsorships. Mgoddard has been working two jobs. "Working from 07:30 to 20:30 is difficult, but I’m closer to living my dream."
She has to get sponsors for some items such as diesel, food, beer and Internet.
Thanks to the advice of the SANParks forum members, Mgoddard bought a caravan for her stay in the Park. She is planning to start her trip during May next year.
"In organising a trip like this it is important to keep yourself together and not let anything get you down," she says.