There seems to be a big stigma surrounding Africa. My mom wasn’t thrilled at the idea of visiting, and people all along the way put in their two cents about why going there would be sketchy. Most people from the U.S. that visit there, then, must have a good reason, and I was no different. I went there to visit my significant other, Clancy, a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique (check out her blog!). She is a biology, chemistry, and English teacher over there, and, frankly, if it weren’t for her, I probably never would have built up the desire to go to Africa. 

The trip was rewarding and challenging in many respects. Rewarding for the wonderful kindness extended by strangers, the perspective gained by looking at things from a third-world perspective, the gorgeous scenery, environment, and wildlife, the terrific company, and some great stories. I won’t write anything in great detail here because I have posted guest entries on Clancy’s blog that expand on my impressions of Mozambique and the changes effected on me as a result of my being there. There were many challenges, all of which were ultimately positive experiences. I knew that Africa would be difficult, but reminded myself that any immediate discomfort would pay off in the long run by the benefits of good stories and lessons learned. The biggest challenge was learning to take big leaps of faith and putting trust in people in a very unreliable culture. I generally plan and prepare for every situation, but such preparation turns around to bite you in Mozambique. Flying by the seat of your pants is the only way to go. As a result, my patience improved dramatically, and my ability to persevere through unpredictability also improved.

Tangentially, I also learned what its like to be knocked off the top of the food chain. Ask me about lions sometime. Anyway, Clancy and I did two major excursions- to Swaziland, where we saw a plethora of wildlife, and to white sand beaches along the coast, with crystal-blue water and grilled fish dinners. 

Now, pictures! 

Folks returning from the islands off Vilankulos with their harvest.
Clancy and I at the beach, Vilankulos
Season's Greetings from Swaziland!
Mliluane National Game Reserve
Lions walking in front of our safari jeep. Hlane National Game Reserve, Swaziland
The African savannah
Huge bull elephant! The jeeps aren't allowed to pass them because they have a tendency to charge.
 Sitting outside our hut, watching white rhinos at the watering hole. Whatever, no big deal...