4 years ago, as the 8th July dawned, this was the view from my window as the plane I’d been on all night flew over the continent of Africa.
As I reflect back, one of my vivid memories, was the overwhelming amount of support I got from my online community. I remember people e-mailing me and sending me money to help fund the trip. But more than that, I remember spending a year humming and hawing and spilling out my nerves about going and everything that would be involved to get there. The main one: flying on 6 planes.
The last time I had been on a long-haul flight from Sydney to London and a young girl had got travel sick while sitting next to me. To say I flipped out would be a mild understatement. But as I sat in Edinburgh Airport I remember the tweets from friends all over the world letting me know they were praying that it wouldn’t happen again. I remember texting my wonderful friend Vicky every day – fitting all I could into the precious 150 characters so she could relay it to our smallgroup.
I remember the day the lovely Michelle let me use the internet in her home so I could leave a message on my blog – I knew lots of people wanted to know if I’d met ‘the woman in red’ and how things were going.
I met amazing people. So many friendships began in Durban. I left part of my heart in South Africa that year. It’s true what they say about ‘Mama Africa’.
So today, I want to say to my friends – the friends I made offline and the friends I made online – THANK YOU. You helped me to get South Africa and back. You helped me discover the meaning of themba.
I don’t think I could have got there without you. Those tweets, blog comments, e-mails and facebook messages those years ago meant more than the world could to me.
And South Africa — I hope I can return to you one day…