It’s been over a month since I used my own laptop to write my blog. How apt then, for it to be the last I write in South Africa. Leaving Heathrow on the 25th May, I’ve been here for 87 days. That’s 2 months and 26 days, more than 12 weeks and some 2088 hours! In that time I’ve had some of the best experiences of my life. Breathtaking sights, heart-warming moments, adrenaline rushes. Meeting people who I’ll treasure forever, this trip has likely been the best 3 months of my life.
Staying in around 18 different places – be they hostels or people’s homes – I’ve had the chance to gain a greater perspective on life. Blessed with incredible hospitality, this trip has been almost too easy. I’m so happy to profess an ever increasing optimism in humanity, looking to find the common bonds that unite us rather than those which divide. “We put the ‘SA’ in ‘USAYD’,” were the words of one friend from Joburg. I never expected that I’d leave this country with such an attachment.
There have been many challenges here. The juxtaposed minority first world with the majority third leaves me with a conflicted mind, finding myself enjoying luxuries that so many here couldn’t even perceive. The contradictions of this society only exemplify the reality of the world in which we live – perhaps the visible difference being a matter of mere proximity. Either way, I know that I’ll be returning to the UK with a refreshed sense of vision and purpose, motivated to see that I contribute to making the world a more balanced place.
The wind and rain hits my face as I leave the Mosque. “You’re being sent off with a real Cape winter,” my new ‘host dad’ says. “You’re going to be lekker depressed when you don’t see the mountain,” were the words of his wife yesterday. Looking to my endless list of quotes I crack up, remembering the ‘you had to be there’ moments. I’ll leave you with a true South African joke, courtesy of a friend in Joburg: “Do you think that there are superstitious cats that think it’s bad luck when black people cross them?”
Thank you – from the bottom of my heart – to those who have helped to give me such a fantastic experience. If you’re reading this, then I’m talking to you. It was a pleasure to meet you, spend time with you and to be your guest. For the roof over my head, the food in my belly and all the rest. One of my friends said she’d “never seen me smile so much!” That, for me, is a good enough reason to have been here. All praise is to God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate.