Chief Stewardess Jaime-li Roux, Chef Daniel Brook, and Capt. Nicholas Coombes of M/Y Skyler will be embarking on a journey through Africa to raise funds to sponsor and care for five SOS Africa children through their high school graduation. They will be accompanied with Solent University student Keagan Roux, Jaime-li’s brother, and Chef Hannah Coombes on their 21-day trip.
A UK-based grass roots child sponsorship organization, SOS Africa has funded the education and care of underprivileged African children since 2003. Their goal is to raise £36,000 to go toward the five children’s school tuition, aftercare, stationery, uniform, transport, and any other additional support, including counseling and student care.
“We are so proud to have come across SOS Africa. They are a smaller charity, family run, that really works hard to ensure children get the education and care opportunity,” Jaime-li says. “They are making a huge impact on communities and children’s lives.”
The group will go on a 4x4 self-driving mission in two vehicles, where they will mostly be camping with the occasional nights in accommodations in city areas. Their challenge will begin on September 22 at 4 a.m. when they will depart Cape Town and end in Maputo, Mozambique, on October 12. The 8,000-kilometer journey over 21 days will also travel through Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Although Jaime-li has driven through some of the countries on the itinerary, she didn’t really get to see and experience some of them to the fullest. About a year and a half ago, she decided she wanted to do something similar again, but on a smaller scale, and also raise money for charity, alongside a good group of people to enjoy the challenging journey with.
“Apart from my brother Keagan, who was born in South Africa, the rest of the crew haven’t been to Africa before. I think they’re in for quite the surprise,” she says. “There’s no better way to see Africa than to drive it yourself, get lost, get stuck, lose a tyre, [and] driving in the wild. The experience is exhilarating.”
Each team member has been preparing in their own way. Jaime-li has created a large, organized folder of their day-to-day drives, kilometers per day, and where they’re staying, but she says the boys refuse to open it, wanting it all to be a surprise. Capt. Coombes has been watching 4x4 videos and searching for ways to “glamp” along the way (such as a portable toilet seat), Chef Brook has been devising different ways to cook the meats they’ll come across on the journey, and Keagan created their logo and got personalized shirts made.
Although the team had the choice to support more children, their efforts would have only enabled them to cover school for a year. Instead, they decided to support five children throughout their entire education and care to potentially do more for the community and its educational future. “If that child goes out in the world and gets himself/herself a job after graduating, they will likely come back to their community and make changes themselves, teaching and inspiring others,” she explains. “The charity picked the five children whom we are sponsoring — the children desperately need the help [as] most can’t even afford food on the table. They need a chance, and we’re going to help get that for them.”