Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why, Africa, WHY?

Hello blog people! I'm happy to be back in the blog world, despite the fact that "blog" is almost certainly the ugliest word I've ever spoken.

Hello loved ones!

Some of you may already know, some of you might have no idea, and some of you probably don't care, but I am IN AFRICA.

I'm hoping the bold, capital letters help to really send the message home, as I'm a bit overwhelmed at the thought of accurately describing it. Well, I'm actually only in Phase 1 of the journey, about to enter Phase 2. But first:


This is a great question. Why have I decided to spend a large chunk of my hard earned savings to come a'wandering around the motherland? I suppose there a few reasons. The impetus behind this whole ordeal is one Devon Murphy, a champion of life. A fine friend of mine from way back, he has spent the last 2 years working with the Peace Corps, teaching math and physics in Uganda. But really,

what does that MEAN?

I'm here to find out. I intend to gain at least a little understanding of his experience here, by spending a bit of time sampling his life. I will live next to him, meet his Ugandan friends, accompany him to his school, and ideally, get involved in some way. (There are tentative plans to teach P.E. and a life skills class) I'm going to Uganda because I have the opportunity to do so.

First, however, we have to get there. I've come all this way, so it seems logical to see as much of the continent as I can. The Peace Corps gang has some time off before wrapping up their experience, and many of them are embarking on incredible journeys. I've hopped on to one of those.

I've been in the Cape Town area since the 8th of December, couchsurfing in the gorgeous town of Stellenbosch, and within the city itself (please, if you're not familiar with Couchsurfing, do yourself a favor and sign up! I chose to skip the first part of Devon's journey, which took him through from Jo'burg, South Africa up to Victoria Falls, and west into Namibia. I wanted to spend some time alone in Cape Town, to acclimatize a bit, and for the chance to make my own observations about this complex country. So far, so good.

And now, Devon and the gang has arrived, keen on experiencing glorious Cape Town for a few days before grabbing me and continuing on. Over the course of the next month or so, we'll be sampling and savoring small pieces of Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya, before getting back to Devon's town in Uganda. I'm ready. Phase 1 of this trip has been wonderful. Through couchsurfing I've made incredible connections, found wonderful, adventurous people willing to join me in exploring the surroundings, and a sense of trust I would venture to say is truly unique. I've conquered Cape Town's stunning peaks, swam in two oceans, sampled many delicious wines from the innumerable local estates, and made some fine friends.

The itch to move on, however, is undeniable. Traveling during Christmas is generally a poor idea, and in South Africa this is no exception. There is a highly-lauded train line that passes slowly through the countryside towards Jo'burg, but trying to find a seat a few days before Christmas? ha! We were barely able to find passage on a bus for Saturday, but very happy about the prospect of getting out of Cape Town. The mountains of Lesotho are calling, and the easy, cosmopolitan life here in CT has gotten a bit stale.

I'm ready for the challenge of Phase 2: traversing a ridiculous amount of land in a fairly short time. I'm ready to savor a bit of sweaty suffering. I'll keep my eyes and heart open, and try to collect as much as I can as during this whirlwind journey.

Another day left in Cape Town, then unwrapping this year's Christmas present: Lesotho!

Much love to you all!

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