Friday Sep 4, 2015

Safari through Southern Africa: An Exploration of Namibia, Botswana, & Zambia

Erica Varga

Owner and Operator Acappella Safaris - based on Bainbridge Island

Scribe: Bob McKorkle

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President Paul (PPC) rang the opening bell and welcomed the club to Basic Education and Literacy Month.

Steve Peters handled the Invocation and Pledge. When he got to the pledge, we had no flag. Quick thinking Michel Carter stepped up with a digital flag.

Chris LeRoux handled the greeting of visiting Rotarians and guests.

Mike Ralph as president elect gave the semiannual talk about member participation in fund raising. This normally happens just prior to our two fund raising events especially when we are a little short. The expectation of member is to raise or contribute $800. Those of us who have been there before feel your pain. He did point out that we have two superstars in Katherine De Stephano and Ruben Ladlad, both of whom raised and or contributed over $10,000 last year.

Robin Callan & Katherine De Stephano tried to give a skit based on Charades to promote the Biking/Wine Tour event September 15th. It quickly became apparent that the majority of BBRC members are not charades people. It was all in good fun and it is hoped you all will take part. It starts at 12:30 PM. There will be support for troubled bikers and or wine tasters.

PPC & John DeWater also announced Octoberfest. That will be held October 24th. Mark your Calendars and stay tuned for more details.

John Schwager gave a Golf Event Update. We have 92 golfers signed up including 25 probable. An auction was held for a team to buy Erik Hanson, former Mariner and excellent golfer. Margie Burnett plunked down $200 for the privilege. Speaking of auctions, the golf auction received some stunning pictures from Doug Cameron.  

John Martinka gave a report on a 13 club grant project to help with micro lending in India. The clubs got together to request the grant from RI and were rewarded with a matching grant.

Madeline Gauthier gave an update on the annual adoption party. 50% of the kids from last year were adopted or are in the adoption process. This year’s event will be October 10th, 11AM until 1:30PM. They need volunteers and especially drivers. All participants that will be in contact with the kids need background checks. These need to be done ahead of time so if you want to participate, let Madeline or the committed know.

Carmela Ramaglia filled in as SAA. She quickly got everyone for a buck and there was no grumbling.

Kaj Pedersen introduced Erica Varga, Owner and Operator of Acappella Safaris. Her talk “Safari through Southern Africa: An Exploration of Namibia, Botswana, & Zambia”

Erica was here 3 years ago. Her company promotes tours to Southern Africa. Between pictures and prose, she outlined many reasons to visit this part of Africa. From pristine places and diversity of cultures, most people that go are well travelled and think this trip is a highlight. The people, coastal experiences, and great scenery make this area a must.

Rotary First Harvest Recognition, sponsored by John Cherry and Silicon Mechanics

Thought for the day: Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

About the Speaker

Erica has traveled extensively throughout East and southern Africa over the past 20 years. In her twenties, she hosted guests from around the globe on overland safaris across Botswana and into Zimbabwe.

Erica has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and an M.A. from the University of Washington in Museology, which is Museum Studies. She is a specialist in the field of heritage preservation and has worked as an executive director, curator, and consultant for various museums and professional organizations. Additionally, Erica has developed and taught graduate level courses at the University of Washington.

She currently owns and operates Acappella Safaris, specializing in adventure travel in Southern Africa. Acappella offers customized safari planning services that result in life enhancing journeys. Through the years, Erica has retained many personal and professional relationships that, together with her work experience in the bush, contribute significantly to her ability to design an exemplary safari for you.

Erica and her young daughter, Kya, live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where they enjoy adventure at home through kayaking, mushroom hunting, hiking and other outdoor activities.