Homesick for Africa….

Posted: 13/09/2011 in Africa

Beautiful Amazing Africa!

Africa has done something extraordinary to me and I have fallen in love with her and her people. I’ve been thinking about my trip to Europe 3 years ago and considering how different my experiences there were compared with Africa. Of course this might be stating the obvious because its like comparing chalk with cheese but it goes beyond what I’ve seen and experienced to how its made me feel. In Europe I was able to learn the fascinating evolution of the western countries and see history captured in architecture, music and art. I had an amazing 10 weeks there but was always content with the thought that I would be going back to Australia. There was no desire to travel in Europe long term or to ever live there and at times I would feel homesick for my family and friends and all the places and things I knew.
Africa has completely taken me by surprise. I knew I’d enjoy it and I knew there was so much to see and do but I was a little nervous about how I cope with camping and so much driving but mostly about missing home and the simple things I’m used to. Yeh, I’m a bit over putting a tent up and down but I’ve discovered I don’t mind camping at all, especially in a place like this. Last night I was woken I’m the middle of the night and stuck my head out of the tent. 4 large elephants and a baby were walking past right outside my tent! I’ve stayed in places where the landscape is breathtaking, where the animal noises at night are both fascinating and frightening. As for the drives…every kilometer we’ve driven brings new landscape, it’s constantly changing. In the last 48 hours I’ve gone through undulating sand coloured hills sparsely covered by trees, to massive rock formations with unusual white trees growing from them, to vast landscapes smothered with yellow grasses, to flat and completely barren desert lands, to massive orange coloured sand dunes. This is only one small part of one country! And then there are the people groups that still live in the traditional way like the Masai and the Himba tribes.
So I guess you could say it’s history verses nature and perhaps that’s why I love it here so much; I’m a nature and animal lover but it’s more than that. This place has done something to me, it’s in my system and I have fallen in love with her and her people. I miss Australia from a patriotic point of view and of course I miss my family and friends and my little Gypsy girl but I’m not homesick and I’m certainly not counting down the days until I go home. In fact if I were counting down it would be because it will be a sad day for me, I will truly miss it here. Australia will always be home and I love my country but there are things that I have become so frustrated with, especially the self indulgent me first attitude that is taking over our society. Respect, tolerance, honouring others and basic morals are seemingly considered old fashioned. Many parents are more concerned with satisfying their own needs than they are with teaching their kids boundaries and manners. I know not everyone is like that and of course there are many people who are good (whatever that might mean to you) and live morally healthy lives. I do love Australia but she also breaks my heart. I’m under no illusion that Africa is without it’s problems, this is perhaps one of the most troubled continents on earth. Political corruption and greed have and are destroying nations. Poverty, starvation and lack of education makes life more challenging than we can, for even a second, comprehend. And tourists haven’t helped by unknowingly teaching people to beg rather than become self sufficient. It’s the whole “give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and feed him for a life” scenario. We’ve been giving and not teaching for too long. And regarding education in schools many of the subjects are so outdated and irrelevant; it’s school for the sake of school. The children become unmotivated and the parents don’t see the point of pushing their child academically when he or she could be out begging or working. And perhaps the biggest problem is lack of motivation. Many people here do not see the point of work for varied reasons and are content to sit around. This causes a ripple effect in communities and all aspects of community life. But there is still something that draws me here, something I cant identify and it’s been with me from the beginning. Don’t ask me to reason it, explain it or justify it, i simply can’t. All I can say is its almost like that feeling of coming home. A friend I made along the way said to me that she tells people if they only ever get to visit two continents in their lifetime it should be Africa and I concur! I honestly could live here I love it that much…..

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