7-Year-Old Saige’s School Visit in Botswana

Some see travel as a way to escape, to explore a new frontier, to photograph new scenery or to understand another culture. Others see travel as an opportunity to make a lasting impact in the lives of others. As consultant Marguerite Smit talked through trip ideas with Julie, Dave and their 7-year-old daughter Saige, Julie asked if there was an opportunity to visit a local community during their trip and share their resources with others who may be less fortunate. An idea was born.

As Marguerite planned the family’s trip to Botswana and worked on the logistics of a special visit, Saige and her second grade class were busy with plans of their own. The class raised money for Moreomaoto Primary School and wrote letters to the students of the school. When Saige and her parents traveled to Botswana in May 2017, they visited the school to deliver the letters and generous donation.

Moreomaoto Primary School has 203 pupils, 9 teachers and only 6 classrooms with no computers, no internet and no playground for the youngest class. Yet, as Saige and her parents saw, none of this could stop the children from being happy, focused and devoted to their schoolwork.

In Saige’s Own Words

We asked Saige to share a little about her experience in Botswana and her visit to the school. Here’s how Saige described their visit:

“Botswana is amazing, All the animals are so healthy and happy and the ecosystem is so healthy. Botswana has never had a war and the people are very proud. They are all so nice. I went to a school that does 1st-7th grade and we went closer to see the grades. A class was waving and saying hi, it was so cute. We had a lot in common. Before I went on this great adventure, I worked with my second grade class. My class made pay it forward cards and made money for a school near Motopi. We wrote letters to the kids and they wrote back to us. The day at the Botswana school I felt so special to see everyone. My family walked into each class and gave high fives. During our visit I played chess and my opponent was a 7th grader. We played for a long time and I held my own. Sadly I lost. I loved how there was a lot of big trees that the children could sit under when they are eating and the dogs that were laying around just being dogs.”

Connections Across Borders

Marguerite knew from her first conversation with Julie that the opportunity to travel with Saige at such a young age will no doubt impact the rest of her life – and the lives that she touched.

“This is the part that makes my job so special,” Marguerite explained, “connecting with people and being able to extend those connections across borders.”

Below are a few of the letters that the students in Botswana gave to Saige to share with her class. We hope they touch your heart as much as they’ve touched ours! If you’re interested in learning how you can support local schools or community nonprofits in the destinations you’re visiting, we’re honored to help.

Letters from the Kids