I cannot believe how fast two months in Africa went by. I did a lot and saw a lot, experienced a lot, but time flew!! Which I guess shows how great it was and supports the number one way I would sum up my time in Africa and that is “welcoming, making you feel at home”. The feeling was given by everyone, not just being in their continent and respective countries as an outsider, but more in the way of just being a fellow human beings, all part of this same overall society of this big round world. It was an unexpected feeling, but a very comforting ones.
Two months later, after a short diversion to the United Arab of Emirates (UAE) to get a Visa, I am safely in India and today is Ganesha’s Festival Day. So before I get into summarizing my time in Africa, please let me wish you all a Very Happy Ganesha Day!!
Ganesha is the God of good fortune, of new beginnings, the remover of obstacles, as I understand it. So pretty cool guy. You probably all know him, he is the God that has a head of an elephant. Apparently his father, Shiva, one of the major God’s cut off his head accident not knowing he was his son, while Ganesha was standing guard protecting the door as is mother, Parvati, another God, and wife of Shiva, took a bath. When his father realized what he had done, he quickly went out and cut of the head of the first thing he saw, to replace it on his son, which here in India, it happened to be en elephant. There are others stories, but that was the first one I was told, so I am sticking to it. A pretty happy looking elephant for all matters, and seems to be doing some good will for all, – so Happy, Happy Ganesha Day to you all!!
Africa is my fourth Continent on these travels, my second new one and while in Africa I had the chance to visit four new Countries; Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Mauritius. I was able to team up and work with two different groups on two different water projects; Emmanuel’s Adopt One Village in Yaw Tenkorang, Ghana and Fr. John’s Ewuaso Kedong Parish Project funded by Cross International in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya. I had the chance to meet up with an old friend from High School, Jeanne and go on a safari in Kenya in three different national reserves; Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru and Amboseli at the foot of the Mt Kilimanjaro. I also was able to meet up with my niece, Kerry, in South Africa and visit the apartheid sites of Johannesburg. I got to touch the southern tip of South Africa at the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point, and drink wine with new friends touring the wine country of South Africa. I was able to fly out to a remote island country of Mauritius, a 4 hour flight from Joberg, the home of the extinct Dodo Bird and the original Blue Penny Stamp and swim and relax on the beaches of the warm Indian Ocean.
All and all, another amazing time and a time that flew by. It seriously seemed to take longer to write this last paragraph as it did the time it took to experience it all. But that all leads to my tops and bottoms of my time in my time in Africa:
Top of the Tops
- Ghana’s Hospitality – Very Bob Marley-esck
- People of the Ewauso Kendong Parish and the Maasai Community
- Safari in Maasai Mara and seeing Mt Kilimanjaro in Amboseli
- Seeing Family on the road!! – THANK YOU KERRY!!
Friendliest and Happiest People
- Maasai Tribes
- Indigenous Africans in South Africa
- Indians in Mauritius
- Seafood in Cape Town – first night
- Seafood on Mauritius
- Barbecue on Safari
- Meal at Carnivore with Nirvana
Most Exciting Adventure
- Seeing four of the Big Five on Safari – plus a Cheetah with cubs
- Snorkeling in the Indian Ocean off of Mauritius
- Seeing African Penguins on the Cape Tour in South Africa
Favorite places I stayed
- Condo in Cape Town, Seaside found through HomeAway
- Retreat at Ewuaso Kedong, Kenya
- Serious Upscale Tent on Safari
Best Travel Advice
- Matt Perry and his Brother Armand (and his wife Sarah) who live in Swaziland, gave the best advice ever for Cape Town and the area – Thanks guys!! – Also Matt had a good friend agreat contact in Ghana, living now back in Portland).
- Emmanuel and his people for making things happen to get in and out of Ghana
- Jeannie Koss for making all the arrangements and made the Safari in Kenya happen so smoothly!
Most Heart-Wrenching Scenes
- Hector Peterson Memorial in Sowato, Joberg, South Africa
- Training through the Kibera Slums in Nairobi
- Touring the prisons that Mandela, Gandhi, Bishop Tutu and all the other political activities had to endure in South Africa during apartheid
- Scenes from the ongoing labor dispute riots going on now in South Africa
Before I close, I do want to send my sincere and heart-felt sympathy out for Ambassador Chris Stevens and his family and the others and their families that lost their lives and love ones last week in Libya. As mentioned above I had the chance to visit a Muslim Country for 10 days, about a week before this all happened. An unplanned stop over for my Visa, but what a great diversion it turned out to be; I loved it! – I very much respected the strong religious believes that I saw in the UAE and greatly appreciate the opportunity I had to visit the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, which was amazing. I felt extremely comfortable and welcomed while I was there, which is what I have felt for the most part from all the people I have had the chance to met this year. It is just too bad there are such extremist out there. The ones that put out disrespectful and hurtful media and the ones that retaliate with unneeded violence. Never does an immoral act create a moral outcome or can be it justified for what is considered at the time a needed outcome. Retaliation, in any way, no mater how good it makes you feel in the short-term, never leads to ultimate good, even if you think the retaliation is needed because of some wrong doing. We all need to forgive and prey for our fellow humans beings.
I saw a touch of the impact first hand a couple of days ago in Chennai where there was a violent protest at the American Consulate. I saw it after the fact with the many Indian Guards at hand protecting the Consulate. My heart goes out to all that are being effect by this and I hope and pray for all involved.
It is the end of the day here now in Pondicherry, India and I just came back from seeing hundreds, if not thousands of statues of the God Ganesha being honored and thrown into the sea for a a better tomorrow, a new beginnings. Lets hope it comes with a new and better respect and understanding for one another. With prayers being said for all!