I thought it appropriate as the last person to leave Jo-burg that I should send the last post from Africa. It's difficult to put the experience of the past several weeks into words. As you can tell by reading all of the previos posts, we covered a lot of ground, met many wonderful people and saw amazing landscapes. I also learned about being human. As an American I have so much and can take it for granted. It blew me away to meet a person who did not own a blanket until he was a teenager, that's not even getting into all the other things he still does not own. To meet small children orphaned by the scourge of AIDS, at best living with their grannies or at worst living alone. Despite the circumstances, each person I met was open, warm and joyful at meeting our group. In Malawi, at a school I met a woman who did not speak English but she grabbed me by the arms, looked into my eyes and smiled emphatically. As we walked around the school grounds, she put her arm around my shoulders and smiled.
We also saw a darker side of Africa where people have lost hope or are unable to rise above the conditions. As our guide in Kip Town said, we are all the same blood and soul. I believe those of us that have been priveledged in this life can and should provide support to those who have not. Their hope is our hope; we are a global community. The experience of whitnessing resilience and the sense of community in Africa will carry me though darker times ahead.
Go well, Michelle