Sunday, August 23, 2009
It is a lovely, rainy, misty, Sunday morning here and I am listening to the soundtrack from Out of Africa. It has to be one of my all time favorite movies. Not so much for parts of the story line, but for the expansive sceanery and the amazing musical score. Africa has always drawn me, as it did my mother. Thelma always longed to go to Africa to see the zebras. That's all, she just wanted to go and see the zebra's. It is a wish that was not fulfilled in her lifetime, but as is so often the case, it has been somewhat fulfilled in the lives of two of her grandchildren. I do not know if either my son Daniel or his twin sister, Jaime have viewed zebras while in Africa, but they have been there! This morning my son Daniel is in the heart of Africa, visiting Uganda for the second time doing humanitarian outreach work and my daughter Jaime lived in Egypt for almost a year working with a linguistics agency.
So what draws me to this dark continent, as it was once called in school books of long ago? I am not sure, only that I have always wanted to visit, to see the people, the lovely faces of the children, the land and its animals too, I suppose. But the stories I have read, often stories of survival and of the lives of people who went there early on, have always captivated me! Early missionaries and colonists worked tirelessly, persuing a passion for the seemingly impossible. In the book Out of Africa by Isak Dinsen, she speaks of having been mostly a 'mental traveler'. A mental traveler sums it up well for me, for up until now that is mostly what I have been when it comes to travel to foriegn lands. A mental traveler can go where ever she wishes and the pictures in the mind are free to be as beautiful as can be imagined. But there is another side to Africa that frightens me, it is the side of hunger, starvation, unimaginable poverty, sickness, revolution and war. Perhaps that is the Darkness that is referred to when many speak of this large continent. I am so glad that two of my children have gone and been willing to see and experience both sides of Africa. They have been willing to embrace its beauty and its poverty, its people and their heartbreak. A new generation is going to tackle what those of us who have only travel in our minds have yet to see. Photos of Uganda by Dan Ford so far without permission! :)