Out of Africa

Cold shower. No shower. Warm beer. No beer. No food. No electricity. Toilet is a hole in the ground. Tent side swiped by wild bush pig. Feet caked in mud. Robbed by a monkey. Lions almost attacked us. Pickpocketed. Cooking water drunk by an elephant. Stale butter and carrot sandwiches for 5 days straight. Felt up by a toothless driver on the daladala bus. Wiping snot from a child’s nose with bare hands and no soap. Gunfire in front of our room. Sleeping on the bathroom floor. Two stolen cameras. Two stolen shoes. One dead donkey. Two dead puppies. Children throwing up all over each other.

Best time of our lives.

We’re sitting in a cafe in Prague, about 12 shades darker and 20 pounds lighter between us. The city is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen but I’m afraid my head and my heart were left behind in Tanzania. Leaving was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do and one of the saddest days I can remember. So many memories, experiences and laughs. Each and every day there was the best day ever. I went in hoping I could somehow help the people there, teach them something, but I think in the end, it was me who learned alot about life.

It took one day to get over the shock and soak in the life there. You are surrounded by such overwhelming poverty and every day-to-day task is harder than it is in the western world, but our way is not the only way, or even the right way. It seems the less you have the more one can appreciate the simple things in life and I am almost envious of the African lifestyle. Without distractions of televison, phones and Ipods, they are so much more in touch with the world around them.

I have met so many people who have touched by heart and the month in Africa is one that will live with me forever.

The Children of Living Waters were amazing and have so many sad stories, from losing their parents to AIDS, sexual abuse to deformation, and yet, they are the most remarkable people I have had the pleasure of knowing. They spend almost all day doing chores like cooking, laundry and cleaning. Even the two year olds are doing chores. They have almost no belongings of their own but they know who they are and feel lucky to have found a new family at the orphange. There is very little crying or complaining or misbehaving. A temper tantrum is unheard of.

Farewell to the children

Farewell to the children

After arriving in Europe, the first thing I saw was a child screaming and crying, something I had not seen in over a month even though I had been surrounded by 37 orphans. It all makes me wonder what westerners did so wrong and question what kind of parent I will be one day.

By the way, to all my friends and family. I can now be really, really hot without panicking. I can share creamy things, sleep through anything and I didn’t wash my hair for 5 days.

Enjoy every moment and happy new year,

Em&M

Comments

  • Jason said:

    Finally…..you can be hot without panicking….

  • Uncle Pat said:

    Eme: I was waiting for this exact post. Every American needs to see and experience the poverty you have seen. As you continue your worldwide travels and if you make it to Latin America I know just the right spot for you: a little village called Terra Blanca in the Choluteca Province of Honduras near the border of Nicaragua. The one day off you may travel to the Gulf of Fonseca on the Pacific. The children are absolutely beautiful and the extreme poverty is rampant.I was there in March and the temperature never dropped below 106 degrees. When you are ready to go I will put you in touch with Ricardo. Let me know if you want to see my pictures. Best wishes for 2009. I hope to do Cuba before Fidel is dead (and take your Dad with me). Uncle Pat

  • Phyllis said:

    Thank you Eme for sharing. Life is short…… the simple pleasures….. experiencing and accepting another culture and the tiniest amount of gratitude is what it’s about.

  • Charity said:

    AWESOME!! Like I don’t even know what to say except I wish I was there to experience this with you. Congrats on the creamy things sharing, and the not panicking in hot weather. I’m proud of you and this experience for you. Maybe a new year with some actual resolutions from this experience? Or not.

  • marc Freiberg said:

    i think everybody in this world, especially in times like these, needs to view life in a different perspective and notice that there are other things in life other than $$,… and realize that family, happiness, love, & appreciation for life is what it is all about. thank you for your inspiration! looking forward to your future travels!

  • Edie Hafdahl said:

    Em,

    You embarked on such an incredible adventure. Thank you for sharing your experiences. You are truly an inspiration. Can’t wait to see you to give a big HUG.

  • Tiphareth Star said:

    I’m so happy you had such an amazing adventure. I love that you can share creamy things, so funny. Sad to hear about the camera’s, what did the monkey’s steal?

  • Terry M Thirion said:

    Dear Emele and Myhai,
    Your travels can make a difference. They open up a whole new world for those going but also those left behind can vicariously live through them. I want more photos! Will you be writing more about this, putting a book together?
    Terry

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