Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I finished up all my trip diary entries last night, but there are some great photos from that Saturday (2/2/08) as we traveled from the Nelspruit guest house to the airport and then as we headed back to the United States and I just couldn't resist posting a few.

On our way out of Nelspruit, which is located in the Mpumalanga area of South Africa, we stopped to get petrol and let everyone buy some eats & it gave camera-happy folks like me another opportunity to torture their trip-mates with cries of "smile for the camera". Above is Daughter B letting the malaria know that she is not interested in taking it home as a reminder of the trip. By the way, isn't this a nice and cheerful sign for something so not nice and cheerful?

Right by the petrol station (for all you Jackson, Mississippi was even nicer than a MADISON gas station!) were a few shops and eateries.

The meat pie I snagged at Sanway's was amazingly good! Or as the South Africans would say, very "lekker"!

Daughter B with Jennifer Hagerty on the porch of the Wimpy Burger place...after all, who could say no to a wimpy burger?!?
And do any of the paper products of product photos look familiar to you? If they do....'s because McDonald's has invaded South Africa! During the apartheid days it was no where to be seen. But now it's gotten a firm foothold in the fast food niche of the South African landscape. And yeah...McDonald's in South Africa is pretty much like McDonald's in America. And according to what you think of Mickey D's, that's either a great thing or a not so great thing.
Above is one of my favorite couples, Kevin and Christi Bowman. Ain't they cute? They loved McDonalds of South Africa so much, they're planning on heading back over there as missionaries. No, really. Okay, so not due to the Golden Arches factor. God moved on their hearts tremendously during our time there and God is calling them to work at a new orphan village in SE Swaziland called Nsoko. If you hang around Graceland much, you've heard me mention them and you'll see them around more as they continue to work towards the goal of getting back over there.

These beautiful murals decorated the wall of the terminal we had to go down to get to our departure gate. Daughter B was being a good sport and letting me take her photo yet again.

Here we are getting in some last minute hugs and chats before our planes departed for the U.S. and Canada.

And last of all, Daughters B and A as our plane flies away from my beloved Africa.

It really was a tremendous trip. I hope you were able to get a better understanding of why I love Africa and the people there so much, especially Swaziland. That area is such a crazy mix...on one hand you'll find mud huts with people living not much differently than they did decades, even centuries ago in some really remote areas. But then you have other places, some not too far away from the mud huts, where you find fancy hotels, modern highways, sophisticated shopping centers, and even McDonald's hamburgers. You see women living in huts with cellphones tucked in their bosom, businessmen wearing traditional garb (complete with animal skirts) carrying briefcases, and I promise, I once saw a young man wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt above a traditional Swazi man's skirt.

It's crazy and full of paradoxes. It's beautiful but hurting. It's wild and scary. It's a jumble of languages and ethnic groups and varying colors. It's the old and the new. It's desert and jungle and savanna and mountains and beaches. It's Africa. And I absolutely love it.

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