After a long journey, we have finally made it to Islands of Siankaba in Zambia and it is as spectacular as I remember.
We are travelling as a group of seven, so before I go any further, let me introduce our crew:
Mom (also known as Mum)-My Mom. I am so excited to have her on this adventure and she has been such a trooper in the journey to get here.
Jay (AKA Fany Pants)- Jay is…”highly affiliated” with Islands of Siankaba. He is from England but a Zambian at heart. I will elude to his nickname throughout the trip, but it came from his immense effort in putting this incredible trip together for the group of us and making it absolutely perfect.
Sarah- Sarah runs The U Foundation, which is the foundation that built and funds the nursury school that is in Sinakaba Village. She is an incredibley sweet and patient person who cares so much for the people in the village and works hard to make sure the people of Siankaba are cared for.
Charlie- Charlie has been a U Foundation supporter for many years. He works for a sporting goods company and is constantly donating sports uniforms, sports equipment and other items to go to the Siankaba Nursury School, as well as other schools in Zambia. This is his first trip to Zambia and a wonderful opportunity for him to see where all of his donations have been going and the good they are doing.
Matthew and Jessica (AKA smiley)- Matthew and Jessica are Sarah’s wonderful kiddos. Jessica is 10 and forever has a perfect dimple on each side of the smile that is always planted on her face. Matthew is almost 12 and as sweet as he can be. They are awesome kids who are such a pleasure to be around.
That being said, the entire crew has been enjoyable to be around. Several of us have met for the first time and everyone has hit it off from the beginning.
Mom and I flew from San Diego to London (10ish hour flight), spent the afternoon and next day in London and then met the rest of the crew at London Heathrow for our flight to Johannesburg.
Jay, Sarah, Charlie and the kids showed up in one car and the 30 pieces of luggage they had arrived in a van behind them. All but a few pieces of luggage were full of donations for the school. Despite Jay coordinating with the airline ahead of time, getting all of these bags checked in took several hours. To add to the chaos, Mom left her carry-on at our hotel in Kensington. After three hours of negotiating and coordinating, Mom had her carry-on and all thirty bags were on the flight. We made it to our flight just in time for boarding. Thanks to Jay (Fancy Pants) pulling some strings, our entire group of 7 was upgraded to business class. We had a great time getting to know eachother and got a little bit of sleep on the way over (11ish hour flight).
We had a couple of hours layover in Johannesburg and then hopped on a 1.5 hour flight to Livingstone, Zambia. Collecting the 30 pieces of luggage and getting them through customs in Zambia was also a lengthy process. Several pieces didn’t make it, but we were able to collect all but one of them the next day. Once we had everything (in the three vehicles that came to collect us), we were off to IOS.
We were all exhausted on the ride over, but found our second wind once we arrived at IOS and were greeted by drumming, dancing, cold drinks and an incredible boat ride over to the lodge. Four days of bliss at Islands of Siankaba had begun.