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Who Digs the Wells and Who Feeds the Villages? by Deb Ferns, WOMA Founder & Board Member

Recently several of us gals, a total of six, headed for a plains game cull hunt (better known as a management hunt) in Limpopo, South Africa.  I won’t get into the nitty gritty deals of how many things went wrong on our week long hunt rather I’d like to share what went right. Besides taking two novice women, who were Babes with Bullet alum on their first hunt, it was our goal to take the meat from the animals we took to a nearby village where the harvest could be enjoyed by many. Turns out the PH (Professional Hunter) and Outfitter we had been working with for many months, with over 90 pages of detailed emails, had not made any of the village arrangements we requested.  Instead Danielle Sanville, our Thompson Center sponsor and one of the gals on the hunt, stepped up 24 hours in advance of our hunt ending and made “magic” happen!

Wilhelmina, a housekeeper we befriended and a resident of the village, introducing Thompson Center Brand Manager, Danielle Sanville and BWB Co-Founder, Kay Miculek to the villagers.

She convinced our lodge owner, who was a separate entity from the PH/Outfitter to bag up the meat for us, mostly warthog and wildebeest, and find a nearby village where we would be welcome to come with gifts of meat.  All of us gals had also brought other things in our suitcases for the village to pass out to kids and adults alike.  Danielle was a woman on a mission as first she found out arrangements had to be made with the local translator who contacted the village chief via appropriate channels to allow us into the village.  The lodge owner luckily had such a contact, Ludwig, and the village chief allowed us access the next day to come for a lunchtime visit. Besides working out the details of getting the meat bagged to pass out we also wanted to make a huge stew to take with us to the village for lunch and again the lodge owner assisted us.  One of the lodge’s big transport vehicles and a security driver along with one of the lodge housekeepers was also sent on our visit, which was located about 30 kilometers away.   Of course transporting a huge pot of hot stew is always a challenge and again Danielle stepped up to be in the back of a second vehicle to keep the meal standing upright (and in case you can’t tell it was HOT in the back of that truck!)   

Our village contact, Ludwig, introducing WOMA Founder & Board Member, Deb Ferns, to villagers.

 

We arrived to the village a bit after lunch and were greeted like long lost friends.  Ludwig introduced us to the village women starting with the great grandmother first.  The women and children were very excited to see us, all of us gals (myself, Kay Miculek, Lanny Barnes, Danielle Sanville, Tami Guerra and Kath O’Neil) started handing out the variety of gifts we had brought like toothbrush and toothpaste sets, markers, candy, clothing, Thompson Center bandanas, etc.  While we were passing out a variety of gifts the village women started to make “pap” which is the local porridge to go with the stew, which gratefully had arrived intact! While the meal finished cooking there was dancing, a small soccer game and some juggling (I use that term loosely as Kay needs to work on that skill set from 20 years ago.) Everyone enjoyed a great meal and then the meat coolers were brought out so our local lodge housekeeping gal,Wilhelmenia who was from the village, could distribute bag after bag of fresh meat to each village family.

Distributing the meat from the warthogs and wildebeests taken during our cull hunt.

Near the end of our time in the village one of the elderly women asked to speak a few words and what she said will forever be remembered in my heart… “without the hunters coming to South Africa the wells with fresh water do not get dug and our villages do not get fed.”  She and the rest of the village sang a song of blessings for us, for our safe travels as we returned home.  Our event in Limpopo was taped by Americana Outdoors (with cameraman extraordinaire Rusty Weeks) capturing the village event along with some of the hunting activities and interviews of the women involved.  We aren’t sure when producer, Wade Middleton, will have the final segment ready to air but we’ll make sure to let you know through the WOMA Facebook and also the Babes with Bullets Facebook. 

 
* Photo at top is Tami Guerra (one of the BWB novice lady hunters), WOMA Founder and Board Member Deb Ferns, and WOMA Board Member Lanny Barnes with a couple of the village residents. Photos courtesy of Kathleen O’Neil
As a special note this trip would not have been possible without Thompson Center being one of the main sponsors and Americana Outdoors having an interest in novice women being introduced to hunting. Other sponsors such as Global Rescue, Vortex Optics, Patriot Gun Cases, Trijicon Optics, 5.11 Tactical and Hornady ammunition, played an important part in making this event come together! Many thanks!!

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