In November, my work took me to Africa. Specifically, I was in South Africa and Mozambique. Under normal circumstances that would have sent me into a frenzy of blogging. And trust me, I saw enough to keep me typing for months, and I took over one thousand photos. But I don’t do work on the blog, so I can only offer you the pictures below and a few words.
Africa is not a basket case. Lots of people associate Africa with big-eyed kids, flies, hunger, distended bellies, conflict, AIDS and hopelessness. Africa does have all of these things. But is also has laughter, community, initiative, opportunity and kindness. And awesome safari parks. If you get the chance, go. It won’t always be fun, but it will always be interesting. If you don’t get the chance to go, but you get the chance to help from Australia (or wherever you are in the world), do that too. It makes a difference.
I will talk about Sammy though, who was the man who drove me from Johannesburg to a game park on my day off. Sammy was born and raised in Soweto, a very, very tough inner city slum-cum-suburb. Him guiding me through a game park would be like me taking tourists on a crocodile tour in Kakadu ie. no idea.
It didn’t stop Sammy though. We crawled around the park in his van, finally spotting zebras just a metre from the van. Very quietly we started taking photos, in awe at the scene before us.
Enter Sammy (yelling in a thick African accent): Hey Mr Zebra! Look at me! LOOK AT ME! I hate you Mr Zebra! I kick you!
The poor zebras strained for indifference, which was a big mistake. Sammy leaned on the horn, absolutely shattering the silence and scaring the shit out of every animal for ten kilometres in every direction.
That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day:
Hey Mr Warthog! Look at me! You eat too much! You’re fat! (BEEP.BEEP.BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.)
Hey Mr Giraffe! Your neck is too long! I hope you fall down! I push you, you stupid giraffe! (BEEEEEEEEEEEP. ETC…)
You probably won’t be surprised to find out we didn’t see any lions.