Pre-departure Preparations

Well, here we are, less than a week away from departing for our Southern Africa Expedition.  Our preparations have been many, from getting Visas and the appropriate shots to making sure that the mail gets picked up and our cats get fed.  In addition we have been working hard to bring new sponsors on board and we are pleased to announce that we have recently partnered with Bushnell Optical and Eagle Creek.  Bushnell has provided us with a pair of Perma View binoculars and Eagle Creek has provided us with two Independent Journey Backpacks.  We are anxiously waiting for the new digital camera promised by Olympus-America.  Many thanks to all of our sponsors for their generosity.

Speaking of shots, we each had to get a Yellow Fever shot, a set of Hepatitis B shots, (our Hepatitis Aís were up-to-date) and Don had to get a Tetanus booster.  Oh yeah were our arms sore.  In addition we must take anti-Malarial medication starting a week before we leave and continuing for 4 weeks after we return.  By the way, Mefloquin is the recommended anti-malarial for Southern Africa.  Malaria is a disease spread by mosquitoes so one of the pieces of equipment we are taking with us is a mosquito net to cover our bed every night.

Some of the other equipment we are taking includes a water purifier, an electric plug converter and "sleep sheets".  When you are on an expedition, you never know exactly what conditions you may find so you have to be ready for anything.  For the complete "Explorerís Checklist" click on this link.

Our visa preparations have actually been quite simple.  What are visa's?  Visa's are written permission to enter and travel in any particular country. They are stamped right into our passports.  We had to send away to the Zambian embassy in Washington DC for our visas and they returned them promptly. 

As Americans, we donít need visas for either Malawi or South Africa, just our passport.  The Zimbabwean visa can be gotten at the border and our Mozambican visa we hope to get in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia.  For that one we may have to wait a day or two, but thatís OK, thatís where weíll be viewing the eclipse!

Speaking of the eclipse, another sponsor, Rainbow Symphony, has very generously donated 50 pairs of eclipse viewing glasses.  If we stare at the sun without these glasses we will damage our eyes.  We have contacted the Zambian Open Community Schools project in Lusaka where the students and we will safely view the eclipse with our glasses on June 21st.

We have been very excited over the last couple of weeks.  Not only excited over our expedition, but excited that we have been contacted by so many students and classrooms who are going to follow along with us!  Many thanks to the partners who have linked us with their sites as well.

So we will be leaving on Tuesday, May 15th and will arrive in Johannesburg (more commonly known as Joíburg) on the 16th.  We will be on airplanes for over 20 hours!  Our adventure will start on the 17th when we visit Soweto.   Talk to you soon!

 


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