I feel as though you have taken me under your wing and adopted me. Not that I’m going to proclaim myself as an African by blood by any means, you kind of have to earn your stripes in Africa for that. However if you told even last years version of Adam that he’d be leaving South Africa for the second time in under a year he probably would have laughed and carried on with a more sensible conversation.
The adoption is mutual though because you are more than just a space on a map to me, you are a home. A home that has shown me every quality a home needs to show. From discipline to beauty and from wonder to integrity this home has engrained vital and necessary traits that will help me become successful in my future.
As heartbroken as I was to catch my last glimpse of this second home, I know Africa will always be inside my heart mind and soul. And thankfully in marrying my beautiful South African fiancé in just a few short months, the most beautiful part of the continent is always going to be right beside me!
No matter where in the world I (and she) will settle, I will never feel 100% home. Although it seems to be quite the ugly predicament the situation is more than I could ever dream of. Who doesn’t want a majestic country in their back pocket that loves and accepts them as much as their real home?
Most of all when I think of this home, I think of all the little lessons I’ve learned in the 3 months I’ve spent their in the last year and a month. Some of these lessons remind me of some of the lessons that God gifted us in the Bible, some just silly little phrases that will always be a way for me and my future wife to connect to our home away from home, and some are just common sense that I’ve known all along but needed the perspective of a far off land.
For example, cherish the little things in life. When an older lady that owns the B&B you find in the middle of nowhere with interesting tid bits about almost anything tells you to go to the bottom corner of her garden and look up at the pitched black sky… get your ass to the back corner of the ladies garden and look up at the pitched black sky because I GUARANTEE it’ll be the most amazing sky full of stars you’ve ever seen.
When in Africa, if you have the extra hour drive through the game reserve and not around. Although driving around the game reserve saves you 40 minutes and you won’t be a little late to a cheetah interaction you have booked. You would have never had to carefully drive around the butt of a pissed off elephant ready to charge your moms KIA sportage. You wouldn’t know that a peaceful pack of rhino will get out of laying in a watering hole at the sight of an elephant using his body language to say “that’s my ditch you’re in”.
While there are photo albums all over the internet of all the funny things that happen in Africa… yeah, some of you guys know “This is Africa”. The certain hilarious things you see every day are almost taken for granted. Where else can you see 15 grown men going 120Km/h standing in the back of a pick up truck. The everyday things you see that give you either a rush of adrenaline or a good laugh are few and far between in any other place but Africa!
People are genuinely happy to be alive in Africa. I have yet to figure out why even people in the most bleak situations still wear a smile. Maybe it’s the constant dose of vitamin C, or maybe it’s the fact that they know they could be the guy walking down the m13 at 10pm while it dumps buckets of rain as he tries his darnedest to
flag down taxi after taxi that just fly right past him. But let’s be honest here, I use that man as an example. However if I flagged him down and asked to have a conversation with him he would likely be genuinely happy for the duration of the chat. People here are grateful for receiving the time of the day, you must even check the car guard’s faces after throwing him 2 or 5 rand coin (30-40ish American cents), I can’t even explain the look of jubilation and respect you get.
So maybe we all see the news and the ugly parts of this place. Maybe the stigma about my new second home is one riddled with crime, corruption and segregation. But, believe what you want to believe. At the end of the day, I love you Africa. I’m more than happy to be an adopted son (son in law). I want to make you proud and I can’t thank you enough for every single day you’ve allowed me to learn from you.
Stay beautiful, I’ll be back soon.