I had always assumed that travel to Africa would be outside my grasp, let alone a hunt there. When I received the call last fall that I had won the SCI Pathfinder Award, this dream of mine suddenly became a reality. Not only would I have this once in a lifetime adventure, but my husband and daughter could experience it with me as well.
People told me that Africa would steal its way into our hearts, and that our stay there would change us forever. I was surprised that happened so quickly. Within a day of landing in Namibia, we were already making plans to return one day because we understood that Africa is a special place where amazing things happen to ordinary people, and it does permanently change you for the good.
One of my favorite things about Namibia and hunting there was the need for adaptability. You never knew what would be around the next bend in the hard-packed dirt road, so you needed to be prepared for anything. That is such a parallel to the life of someone living with a disability. Being able to adapt to your situation is crucial, and in doing so, you can enjoy and experience adventures beyond your wildest dreams.
We were so impressed with the amazing people with Jan Oelofse Hunting Safaris. Not only were they warm and inviting, but also professional and incredibly prepared to meet our every need. All of my fears about accessibility were shattered within moments of arriving, and our experience there rivaled any hunting lodge in the U.S. The lodging was gorgeous, the food delicious and we felt incredibly spoiled by the care we received.
Our PH and tracker were top notch, and we had a wonderful time getting to know them as they helped us get to know the land and the animals that live there. Each day was a new opportunity to learn and perfect my skills as a hunter, and I am so thankful for the chance to grow and be involved in a place that truly understands and practices conservation and animal management, as well as the hunter’s role and responsibility there.
Thank you so much to SCI Foundation for this amazing honor, as well as the other donors who made this entire experience possible for my family and me. We have incredible memories of our time with the Oelofses, and the taxidermy provided, exported and shipped will be a tangible reminder of this life-changing trip. I look forward to continuing my involvement with SCI and the Pathfinder Program as we strive to be first for hunters of all abilities.--Ashlee Lundvall
A special thank you from Ashlee Lundvall and Humanitarian Services Pathfinder Committee to all of our 2017 Pathfinder Donors:
Jan Oelofse Hunting Safaris
Fauna & Flora Customhouse Brokerage Co., Inc.
Safari Cargo Systems
The Yellow Shark Holdings (Pty) Ltd.
Bass Pro Shops