Great ideas aren’t always lightbulb moments. Sometimes, the best plans develop over time with input from friends.
That was the case when Dan Olson, Pennsylvania ’99, talked to Conrad Eberstein ’65, about getting a group of Pennsylvania Delta brothers together for a trip to Africa. Eberstein then spoke with Brett Danko ’90, about it. At SigEp’s 2019 Conclave in Houston, those two brought tour operator Rob Fuller ’99, into the conversation, and the seeds for the first “SigEp Family Safari” were sown.
Through their company, Africa 360, Fuller and his wife, Cathryn Gabor, have focused on educating travelers about the natural wonders of the continent and conservation efforts to save endangered animals.
Four brothers (several of whom brought their families) joined Fuller and Gabor for a two-week tour of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The opportunity to view Africa’s wildlife in their natural habitats proved to be an incredible experience for brothers and their families as they visited some of the continent’s most prominent nature reserves and picturesque locations.
Within the first 24 hours of the safari, the group spotted Africa’s big five (lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard and rhino). Another memorable moment came when the group observed conservationists trim the horns of a white rhino. The animal was sedated so that it could be groomed painlessly.
The potentially life-saving act was performed to make the rhino less attractive to poachers. The group also spent time with conservationists who are working to reintroduce the pangolin — a scaly-skinned mammal — in a region where it’s been extinct for decades, traveled to Victoria Falls, and visited a sanctuary for injured and orphaned elephants.
The trip not only proved to be an amazing experience for the alumni who attended, but may also benefit undergraduates in the future. Alumni have dreams of making this the first of many SigEp trips to Africa. They hope to one day host a trip to the continent every other year for undergraduates with the emphasis on exposing brothers to different African cultures and educating them on nature and conservation. With this goal in mind, Fuller and Gabor have made a $10,000 donation to Pennsylvania Delta’s Balanced Man Fund.