Thursday, August 30, 2012

From A to Z

When we left Ethiopia, I said I was done with Africa.  It was too hard.  I had lived in what a local called "the armpit of Madagascar", then in a tent in the Kalahari, and finally spending months in Ethiopia trying to find food that was palatable.  It was also hard emotionally seeing the daily struggle that Africans meet with a grace rarely seen in other cultures. Shortly after, Roger took a contract with Layne in Tanzania and I wished him well. I'd keep the home fires burning back in Calgary.

Then he sent me this picture of a Masai goat herder and my first reaction was, "damn - I wish I had been there to take the picture."  

And that's when I knew I could go back to Africa, and I started to remember all the things I loved about it.  The fire red sunsets, wildlife I had only seen in zoos, music that speaks to me through its soulful rhythm and the generosity and kindness of people that had little to share.

It's a good thing, because a day after our reunion, Roger left to be the General Manager for Layne's southern African operation located in Ndola, Zambia.  
Roger leaving the property and taking our boat to storage on his way out of Idaho
His first report back to me assured there were fully stocked grocery stores, the city felt very safe and English is widely spoken.  Oh yes....and internet is readily available. I head over on September 5th, and will post pictures as soon as I can.

I didn't have much time to miss Roger as our wave of visitors continued for another couple of weeks.

First up were Shelagh and Hilda.  We've worked and played together for 16 years, but it was Hilda's first trip to our place.
Shelagh and I toasting....everything and anything!
Midway through a day power shopping in Spokane, we had a wonderful lunch with Shelagh's fun-loving cousin, Paddy.  
Clockwise from top right:  me, Paddy, Hilda and Shelagh
My friend, Carol, from Jayman days, came for a couple of days of rest and relaxation hanging out on the dock.

Summer wouldn't be summer without Ed and Colleen stopping by for a visit.
Our friends Dwayne and Annette spent a couple of weeks enjoying their boat on Lake Coeur d'Alene and driving out to the west coast.  Dwayne didn't let a broken wrist slow him down.

The hummingbird that had stayed away during the height of the influx of visitors (29 in just 24 days!) came back for a final feed before heading south.
Do you see the hummingbird on the right?
When I left the Soup Kitchen this summer, I signed up for other volunteer jobs to keep me busy and involved in the community around us.  

I helped with the Lions Club mobile Sight & Hearing testing clinic, slathered sunscreen on athletes at the Ironman triathlon, and my favorite experience -- coaching a wonderful 13 year old girl, Ryan, in Language Arts.  The Sandpoint Library has an outstanding outreach program that is "virtually" going to go the distance  to match student and coach.  The coordinator, Elise, has set up Skype and a webcam so I can continue coaching Ryan from Zambia, much like I took Spanish lessons from a teacher living in Guatemala.  

I'm very excited about this and happy to continue working with Ryan who showed an open spirit to learning and worked hard over the summer.  

So, another adventure begins.  I've probably been elevated to nut-bar status for continuing to follow Roger to faraway places.  I know I have at least one more country left in me to explore as an expat, and I hope dearly Zambia is it.  There is something poetic about starting our expat escapade in Antananarivo and ending in Zambia.  Fingers crossed.

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.
                                                                                                                        Michael Jordan

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