Stuff I take for granted, living in Africa

Human beings are fickle creatures.  Or maybe we adapt so easily – and things become so ‘normal’ to us – that we forget to truly SEE the beauty that surrounds us.  I sometimes grumble about people who live by the sea who don’t bother going to the beach… because, well, it’s always just ‘there’.

“If I lived by the ocean, I’d be at the beach every day!”, I insist.  But, that’s probably not true.  I’d probably take the sea for granted within just a couple of months… and my daily visits would probably dwindle down to occasional visits – if at all.

I live in fairly close proximity to Africa’s best wild life – and I’m often so blasé about it, that I forget about how privileged I am to have experienced these amazing animals up close and personal – on occasions too numerous to count.

I don’t want to take this for granted.  I am sooo grateful for the many, wonderful moments that Africa has given me over the course of my life… and especially – the African wildlife.  I have had many wonderful experiences exploring the African Bush… and I never want to take any of it for granted.  I absolutely LOVE being out in the bush – sitting around a big fire… drinking something hot and delicious… star gazing… and hearing nothing but the sounds of ‘the wild’ – (including the distant roaring of lions).

No matter where we go… no matter where we travel… Africa will always be home.

Here’s some of the photos I took on my most recent visit to the African Bush… (Thornybush Lodge this time):

Favourite Photos & Lovely Memories…

Nick and I have taken thousands of photos over the years – here’s a handful of our favourites, and the stories behind the pics… (I’ve put our initials in brackets after each of the photos – so you can see which of us snapped the pic).

Above:  This was taken at a church in Jovellanos, Cuba.  Two people listening to the sermon – one guy catching some Zzzz’s… (N)

Above:  I just LOVE the resourcefulness of Africans!  We came across a group of singers and musicians in the most rural parts of Zambia.  No money to buy a guitar?  No worries – just make one!  (He was very proud of his guitar – and I was very moved to hear him play and sing). (H)

Above:  I took this photo on our honeymoon in Austria.  We were touring a castle in Saltzburg – and this tree was in the centre of the castle courtyard.  I like the sun glinting through the snow-laden boughs. (H)

Above:  Closer to home in Gordon’s Bay (Cape Town) – these kids were playing soccer on the beach and mistakenly kicked their ball into the sea.  Nick went in to retrieve it for them – and I snapped a pic. (H)

Above:  A bus full of people in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  I loved how all their busses and taxis were so colourfully decorated. (H)

Above:  This was taken in Choma, Zambia.  The Zambian Orphan Choir was going on a trip to the USA – but they all needed passports (obviously).  This is a photo of Prince, one of the singers, getting his passport photo taken.  (H)

Above:  And this photo is taken of the “Photography Studio” in Choma where the choir members had their passport photos taken.  (H)

Above:  I like the colours on this one… Nick photographed these candles while we were exploring a very massive and very beautiful church in Salzburg, Austria. (N)

Above:  This one brings back nice memories.  I was 4 months pregnant with Morgan… floating in a river… in a wildlife reserve – somewhere outside Warmbaths.  The day was hot – the water was cool… bliss! (N)

Above:  I really like Zambia… full of friendly, hospitable people.   This photo was taken just outside Choma – at some kind of Scout camp or event. (H)

Above:  This man was in charge of the group above.  I just LOVE the labels on his shirt:  “Guide”, “Voyager”, “Explorer”, “Ranger”, “Companion”, “Friend”.  I want to be those things too! (H)

Above:  Another pretty tree picture – overlooking Saltzburg, Austria.  Lovely honeymoon memories… (H)

Above:  Choma.  The youngest member of the Zambian Orphan Choir waiting to get his passport photo taken. (H)

Above:  This was in Jovellanos, Cuba.  We stayed with a very hospitable family – and that’s their youngest son with his puppy. (H)

Above:  I love this photo for the sheer fun of it.  The guys actually managing to jump are my friends, Kali and Refilwe.  I am the one trying to jump.  This was taken somewhere in the Drakensberg during Winter. (N)

Above:  Another one of my favourite pics.  This is what happens when you show rural children how a digital camera operates.  I spent ages playing with them – taking their picture – and then showing them the screen so they could see themselves in action.  They loved it. (H)

Above:  Same as the pic above – a bunch of very excited children in Choma – playing with my camera. (H)

Above:  Choma.  Zambia has a lot of home-industries that support women and children. Some very inspiring stuff… (H)

Above:  This was taken in Santa Clara, Cuba.  Nick and I weren’t married at the time – we were very platonic friends.  For the whole duration of our visit to Santa Clara, the man (in the photo above) called me “Fatty Girl”.  He seemed to think it was a compliment.  Afterwards – he sent me a letter proposing marriage!  Eeeek!  (N)

Above:  Nick took this lovely photo of a sunbird on top of Table Mountain (Cape Town). (N)

Above:  Closer to home in Khetani Township (KwaZulu Natal) – this is a picture of Sebenzile and her children.  Sebenzile was one of my Role Models for the Tapestry of Dreams project.  (N)

Above:  Nick saw this written on one of the drums – in a church – in Jovellanos, Cuba.  (N)

Above:  I don’t know who took this pic – because I wasn’t there.  I just think it’s such a funny image of Nick and his business partner, Joel – sitting on top of a newly captured croc (in Honduras or Costa Rica – can’t remember which).

Above:  Members of the Zambian Orphan Choir doing each others’ hair. (H)

Above:  I have always loved this picture of this man selling potatoes in Kaduna, Nigeria. (H)

Above:  Another one of our Tapestry of Dreams “Role Models” – Zanele.  This was taken outside of the home she shared with her son and her mother in Khetani Township, KwaZulu Natal.  Sadly, her mother (pictured in the background) passed away a few short months later. (N)

Above:  Another one of my favourite photos.  This was taken in a combination community / church meeting in the very rural parts of Zambia (quite a drive to get there).  After the meeting, they served us a very delicious meal… such a wonderful, hospitable community.

Above:  This was taken in Kaduna, Nigeria.  I love the colours! (H)

Above:  I’ll never forget this story.  We were sitting in a church service (in Jovellanos, Cuba) – and there was a local man who always used to stand outside and watch the service through the window.  We asked why he didn’t just join everyone inside – and there were a number of responses.  Some people said it was because he was shy… others said he was a hermit… others said he was a bit strange-in-the-head… and someone even said that it was because he smelled too bad. (N)

Above:  This was taken at Monkey Valley Lodge outside of Cape Town.  I was one of the speakers at the Cell C Girl Achiever Bootcamp.  This photo is of some of the girls working on a collage project I had given them.  I have loads of beautiful memories from that camp – and I’m still in contact with a number of the girls.

Above:  Jovellanos, Cuba (N)

Well – that’s all for now.  I have hundreds of photos I could add in this blog… so many memories and experiences – priceless stuff!  But I’m procrastinating horribly on other work.  So – I’ll end off for now.  Thanks for reading!  🙂


Memories of Nigeria

Nick and I travelled to Nigeria a few years ago (with Joel, Nick’s business partner).  Here are some interesting pics that we took – whenever I look at these, I’m immediately transported back into the chaos of Kaduna & Abuja.  In spite of the fact that we have never had so many regular attempts at people trying to bribe us… fleece us… or financially manipulate us (more than anywhere in the world!) – I still enjoyed Nigeria (Nick – not so much).  I love the colours, the chaos, the noise – and the smiley, friendly people.

Above:  Nick, Joel & Me with our Nigerian Cast (we were in Nigeria to film AIDS awareness campaigns for US AID and Operation Blessing).

Above:  A market in Kaduna.  It was people-watching paradise for me…. I watched the goings-on for hours.

Above:  Nigeria is a country with a lot of Christians and a lot of Muslims and (very sadly) a lot of fighting that goes on between Christians and Muslims.  On this particular day, we were in a Muslim area – and I couldn’t resist taking this photo because of the colours…

Above:  Another interesting shot that I couldn’t resist – a man selling lots of potatoes!

Above:  One of the many apartment blocks in Kaduna.

Above:  We were sitting at a fast-food restaurant in Kaduna and this baby croc was in a bucket right next to our table.  It looked like it was serenely sleeping until Joel tried to touch it (almost took his finger off!)

Above:  While Nick and Joel were shooting, a number of the villages showed up to watch.  I, in turn, watched them…

Above:  A couple of friendly girls from the ‘hood…

Above:  I was sitting across the road – watching the world go by… when suddenly, it became windy and started to rain.  These pics are taken of Nigerians in action – quickly covering their wares and sheltering their goods from the downpour.  The picture directly below is of the same thing.

Above:  And finally, a pic of me on a bike!  Nigeria is teeming with motorbikes!  They’re the taxi of choice.  It wasn’t uncommon to see entire families of 4 or 5 people – squished on to one motorbike!  I loved the experience though – admittedly, at times a bit scary.  Nigerian road rules are a tad… uh… relaxed.

Graves and Ruins

I love really, really OLD graveyards – and ancient ruins!  Europe is full of them…  so many to see – not enough lifetime to see everything!  I love reading the inscriptions on the gravestones or tombstones – and imagining the life and existence of the people buried there.  History fascinates me.  Whenever I wander through ancient ruins, I let my imagination run wild – and think of what it must have been like, many, many years ago – to stand in that very spot!

Here’s an old graveyard and an old, ruined church – somewhere in Nottingham, England.

Drive-By Shootings (Haiti)

This post follows on from Drive-By Shootings (Kenya) and Drive-By Shootings (Cuba).

Nick and I have a tradition:  whenever we travel somewhere interesting and unfamiliar, we take photos out of the car / bus / taxi window as we drive… and call this our “Drive-By Shootings”.  Later, we look back on the photos and drink it all in.  We have hundreds of drive-by photos… from Cuba, Haiti, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Mozambique and more… and I can’t bring myself to delete any of them.  To me, they offer such a fascinating insight into the daily lives of people who live differently to me.

Here’s a few from Haiti…

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Drive-By Shootings (Cuba)

This post follows on from Drive-By Shootings (Kenya).

Nick and I have a tradition:  whenever we travel somewhere interesting and unfamiliar, we take photos out of the car / bus / taxi window as we drive… and call this our “Drive-By Shootings”.  Later, we look back on the photos and drink it all in.  We have hundreds of drive-by photos… from Cuba, Haiti, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Mozambique and more… and I can’t bring myself to delete any of them.  To me, they offer such a fascinating insight into the daily lives of people who live differently to me.

Here’s a few from Cuba (Havanna, Jovellanos & Santa Clara)…

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