I continue to be amazed how international travel can make the world seem so big and yet so small at the same time. One moment we are immersed in a culture and reality completely removed from our own, and the next we feel as though we have been transported back home. Sometimes it makes my head spin, and I struggle to absorb it all.
We’ve gone months without meeting a single person from Canada or even the US. This week we met several Americans, including a Colorado man working on a water project in Lesotho. And today I had a long chat with a woman from Abbotsford who has spent the past year setting up a new program at a university in Nairobi.
Earlier this week, the kids and I started off the morning with a yoga class in a gorgeous outdoor setting. Less than an hour later we were sitting in a small, run-down school room as dozens of children sang and danced their hearts out for us – a rag-tag group of international travelers staying at the same backpacker’s lodge on South Africa’s Wild Coast. Most of these kids won’t likely see the world beyond their small village, despite their immense talent. The money they raised that day from their appreciative audience will support the school’s food program, which provides two simple meals a day – usually the only two meals they get to eat.
Tonight we are sitting in a hotel room, and the kids are watching the animated movie Up after eating pizza delivered to our door. Earlier today, we had the opportunity to be up close and personal with cheetahs, leopards and other big cats, standing in their enclosures and petting the young ones.
Like I said, it makes my head spin. I suspect these experiences are changing us, in big ways and small. But in the moment, it’s hard to articulate exactly how.
Tomorrow we complete our extended road trip through South Africa and make our way to Johannesburg. The next day we fly to Ethiopia. Meskie is returning to her homeland, something she has been looking forward to for months. I suspect it will change her – and us too.