There is no greater feeling than presenting a family that has never known the comfort of four secure, permanent walls with their first real home. Having completed this mission on Sunday, we headed out of Potch Monday morning to, what we all agreed, was the cherry on top of this amazing trip. Destination : Safari!
En route to the safari, we stopped at the African Market. Stall after stall of traditional African wares were on display, perfect souvenirs of this unique adventure. The only thing standing in our way was “negotiating” price. Not for the feint of heart, haggling for purchases left us eager to climb back on the bus and head to Pilanesburg National Park.
Sunset and sunrise tours through the park in an open-air jeep gave us breathtaking close-ups of God’s amazing African continent. Mere minutes after the gates closed behind us we were gazing at a family of giraffes patiently munching an evening meal. Elephants, zebras, wildebeests, black and white rhinos, impalas and hippos were some of the astounding creatures we witnessed. The morning trip even presented a look at the ever-elusive lion, while the evening trip provided a far-off glimpse of cheetahs.
Our evening meal at the safari was a traditional African braai in the park, complete with campfire and rangers to keep any curious animals at bay. Less than 24 hours of R&R provided a once in a lifetime opportunity capping our adventure.
After a quick breakfast, we were on the road again Tuesday morning. En route to the airport, we were able to dedicate our final free hours to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.
Startling and disturbing images presented in shocking form contradicted the graceful animals we had witnessed just hours prior. Graphic images of Apartheid’s darkest side lay in contrast to the peaceful message of Nelson Mandela’s olive branch. The museum seemed to scream the message that all of South Africa is a party to: this is a land of contradictions. From the innocent and joyful faces of sweet children orphaned by AIDs, to tired grandmother’s forced to become mothers again to their children’s children, from the gentleness seen in an elephant towering next to our jeep, nursing her young, to Mosaic’s fierce commitment to establish a sustainable community amidst some of the worst diseases, social problems and poverty on our earth.
It was a privilege to be a part of this trip. We didn’t always have hot water, English-speaking bus drivers or the patience for our circumstances, but we were met with grace and hospitality at every turn. Thank you to all who prayed for us, encouraged us and held us close to your hearts when our bodies were thousands of miles from home. We thank God that we have intact families and homes to return to and continue our prayers for our brothers and sisters in South Africa. We will keep Jordan, Aunt Suzie, Meyer and Louise and the entire Mosaic family with us as we settle back into our homes, forever changed by our experience in South Africa.