Back from Africa

I’m back in the US, in my home office, a little logy with jet-lag.
I’m sorry I didn’t post while in Cape Town, where I spent most of my 10-day sojourn in Africa. But by the time evening fell, I was too tired, overwhelmed by the intensity, beauty, contrasts, experiences of the day.
The truth is,I am out of the habit of writing a diary.(I hate the use of “journal” as a verb.)I think the last time I tried, my 21-year-old daughter was a baby. Which also explains why the process of blogging is a bit of a challenge.
Now home, I find myself tongue-tied trying to recount what it was like to those who ask. My husband took hundreds of photographs, and while many of them are beautiful, they do not do the place/people/wildlife/flora justice.
Everything about Africa is vast. The poverty and the wealth, both vast. The horizons shaped by mountains, the Atlantic and the Indian oceans.
Oh dear. I’m reduced to telling you that the oceans of Africa are big.
The night sky seen from a game reserve on the Eastern Cape: the sight of the Southern Cross and the rest of the stars in the “wrong” place.
The example of Nelson Mandela (held in tender, awed reverence by everyone we met)is beyond measure. To hear the word “reconciliation” — as Mandela defined it and gave it to his nation– in the mouths of people whose first language is Aafricans, Xosa, English. Everything is named after Mandela, and there will never be enough honor.
There is a big strike going on in South Africa. I find no mention of it in the two major US papers that land on my doorstep daily. The questions raised by this strike are so important, the consequences so dire: would government find a solution? would the unions agree to terms? should they agree given the incredibly low wages paid teachers and hospital workers? There is such danger that the whole experiment that is South Africa will fall to pieces. And yet, the hope and optimism that this crisis shall be managed is palpable.
I go online to find out what happens next.
They asked me, in South Africa, if I would return. I said, “I hope so.” The truth is, Africa will stay with me.
In Xosa, one of the 11 official languages of South Africa, the salutations for taking leave are:
To the one who leaves, “Go well.”
To the one who remains, “Stay well.”

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