I danced naked under a beautiful full Moon (sorry can’t show you the photos) laughed with joy looking into the eyes of a huge Silverback, screamed in terror whilst doing the same to a hippo wanting to kill me. I cried in fear on a road climbing out of the Great Rift Valley and wept with a sorrow almost unbearable at mans inhumanity to man at the Genocide Memorial in Kigali. I raged over the state of the roads, the filth, the inequalities and the corruption. I applauded the ingenuity and hard work of so many of our fellow Africans and I marveled at the incredible beauty of this continent of ours. So many highs and a few lows but each and every experience leaving a memory forever embedded on my already overflowing heart.
This trip was a journey of discovery and it was tough, very tough at times and one I would do again in a heartbeat. Every single day brought new challenges and we handled them all, me not always with grace but defenitely with determination. It is a trip best done with others and we could never have done it without Ross and Kathy. I will always be grateful to them both for helping to make it happen and the memories good and bad will always be a part of us.
There is so much I could say and want to say about Africa and the state that she is in but I would hardly consider myself qualified enough to go into a long diatribe on the subject. I also feel there is so much to be positive about and there are places that stood head and shoulders above others. Rwanda is such a place, she is a shining example of what can be done. Granted, billions of dollars have been poured into this little country with a damaged heart but she is rising like a Phoenix out of the ashes. South Africa and Rwanda share the fact that their democracies are both 21 years old, however that is where the similarities end. Our country is one of the most dangerous places on earth to live in and Rwanda is one of the safest. Another country that is showing huge positive steps is Mozambique and this is a place I know I will return to.
I could go on endlessly about our adventures and bore you to tears given half a chance but this is it, the last entry about this African odyssey and for those that followed us I hope that you enjoyed reading my ramblings. This trip was not just about me as I was not alone and I feel the need to apologize that it might come across as me, myself and I but want to say my blog was about my experiences of the trip. Graham writes so well and I hope he takes the time one day to put it down on paper how it all unfolded from his point of view. Ross wrote an incredible account of it all and hopefully one day I will hold a book that has been published by him.
Am I changed by the trip? Yes I think so but I do still love the moon. So I end off with these words that just seemed very appropriate, written by Paul Anka and made famous by Frank Sinatra.
And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friends, I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.
I’ve lived a life that’s full.
I’ve traveled each and every highway; (and some bloody awful roads too!) And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.
Regrets, I’ve had a few (quite a few)
But then again, to few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.
I planned each charted course; (well not just me)
Each careful step along the byway,
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it my way.
I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried. (Buckets)
I’ve had my fill; my share of losing.
And now as tears subside,
I find it all so amusing.
To think I did all that;
And may I say – not in a shy way,
“Oh no, oh no not me,
I did it my way”.
For what is a woman, what has she got?
If not herself, then she has naught.
To say the things she truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows –
And did it my way!
Yes, it was my way.
And that’s the end of that….Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika.