Tour through Southern Africa

November 23, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The tour through Southern Africa and into East Africa provided some amazing natural environments to see and incredible people to meet and spend time with. These are two of my favourite parts of traveling, opportunities to be inspired and increase your awareness and appreciation through experiences that make you think about things from a different perspective. The experiences that I was able to have will stay with me for ever, exposing me to examples of why this world is so incredible and the power of the human spirit. So many highlights come to mind as I think of the trip that has now finished. It moved very quickly, meaning that now I can sit back and reflect on what I have seen and done.

The country that impacted me the most was Namibia, a diverse natural landscape and small population of hopeful and resilient people. All who we encountered, whether they be locals or tourists shared stories of safety, enjoyment and optimism. Having been through apartheid like South Africa, the locals seemed to be positive in the process of moving into the next phase of their identity. The evolving nature of our collective humanity provides many challenges but hope in a future that is better than the day before can be a powerful motivator for positive change.

An example of the unpredictability of traveling, or life in general, occurred while we were heading through Namibia. As the truck started to lose speed, making some interesting noises, we wondered what the issue was. Ended up needing a new centre shaft bearing, one that could obviously not be sourced from a near by location. Meant that our group would need to travel back to the nearest town about 40km to stay the night, while our driver travels some 500km return to get the new part. Instead of our tour guide staying with the truck by herself, another traveller and I volunteered to keep her company. Twenty four hours on the truck not moving anywhere provided some memorable experiences.

Our human reaction can be to sometimes see any disruption to our plans as a negative but being able to connect with the other two on the truck and the children from the nearby village in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise was a pleasant surprise. I was able to find out more about the stories of the people I was traveling with, especially about life in Zimbabwe from our tour guide. Also through the children playing grip ball with us on the side of the road we were able to walk through their village with them and hear about their experiences and the different roles within the village. This, along with many other experiences enriched my trip, especially seeing the children taking their responsibilities seriously, such as collecting water from a distance away and looking after the livestock, and then playing so enthusiastically when they got the chance. I look forward to sharing more stories in the coming weeks.

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