Africa: I

What follows is the first of many Africa-stories I hope to tell on this blog. As most of you know, I was honoured to spend 4 weeks in South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe over the summer with a group of Dutch Mennonite young folks.

For photos chronicling our adventures, keep checking out my photolog.

I hope to post one new Africa photo per day for the duration of my Africa Story Telling Stint.

Introductions: the Dutch group, plus Martin and Gale

The Dutch Group (including me, the Dutch American) consisted of the following amazing folks:

Michiel, musician and songwriter who also has a degree in business;
Jelien, former psychology student who is now studying the visual arts;
Nelleke, student of urban planning who grew up as a missionary kid in South America;
Margje, studies social work and wears striking purple glasses;
Bas, almost as old as I am, and later in the trip served as our delegate to the Global Youth Summit;
Gerrit, the youngest of us all, an engineering student;
Maaike, student of psychology who has lived in Canada for a year;
Femke, recent graduate in pychology who loves to sing;
Charlotte, psychology student with gorgeous red hair that looks great in braids;*
And ... me.

*Nelleke's blond locks also look great braided.

When we arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa after a lo-o-o-ong flight, we waited in a few lines, got our passports stamped (yippee! stamps in one's passport are so exciting!), and then made our way to the lobby to wait for our guides. After a couple of minutes, Gail found us, and then led us outside to her co-guide Martin and their trusty truck. Gail and Martin work for Boundless Adventures (BA).

BA is, as the site says, "the first Overland operator in South Africa to offer the addition of mountain biking to Overland journeys."

Fortunately for us, not all of their trips feature bikes -- not that I wouldn't enjoy biking across Southern Africa; I would love to go on one of the Cycling Expeditions in the future. But considering the fact that we needed to travel from Johannesburg, South Africa to Livingstone, Zambia in 5 days' time -- well, biking just wasn't an option. So the Boundless Adventures truck became home for us for the first five days of our trip, and I tell you, at the end of those five days, were we ever reluctant to leave it!

(If you scroll down on BA's "About Us" page, you can see a photo of our very truck! Or at least, one that looks just like it.)

Our guides were incredible. Between Martin knowing everything about wildlife, and Gail knowing everything about South African history, and the both of them being camping/cooking experts, we were good to go. We learned an awful lot, and had a great time too.

And with that, the stage is set.

Stay tuned for the next installment.