Saying good-bye

South Africa is beautiful. This is not beauty that is thrown around every day to describe people and scenery. This beauty is a deep, awe inspiring, starts in your chest, makes-you-feel-in-love beauty. We have traveled far and wide across South Africa and Lesotho, each stop offering a new inimitable take on beauty. Soweto presented a vibrant, effervescent culture and hospitality unlike anything I have ever experienced. The mountains in Lesotho were utterly unparalleled in their age-old majesty. The endless plains of the Great Karoo dotted with proud Kudu and Springboks left me breathless.

Cape Town is our final stop in South Africa and once again it has surprised me with its splendor. Table Mountain captured the awe of the Dutch captains almost 400 years ago and its ageless grandeur has struck me just the same. The beaches are comparably unreal with pristine white sand and crystal clear water. This beauty conquers urges to capture it, not one moment can be wasted.

-Aaron Springer

Wrist watch and Chaco tan lines have become apparent.  Thousands of photos have been taken.  Bags, earrings, jerseys, and numerous other souvenirs have been collected and worn.  These are a few tangible ways to see how we’ve been traveling and experiencing South Africa and Lesotho.  Although we have gotten tan and taken tokens of the beautiful South Africa, we have gained so much more that is not visible to the eye.  The most important part of our time here has been placed in our hearts and minds.  No amount of words or pictures can capture our true experience.

Our experience is unique to each one of us on the trip.  I have been shown so much love and beauty through my host families, other natives of the country, and the EMU group.  I have learned so much about myself, other people, the history and culture of South Africa and Lesotho, and my faith walk.  As the trip comes to an end, I have been reflecting more and more on my experience here.  We are all seeking ways to find connections with our time here and our life at home.  Although I am sad to be leaving such a wonderful country and cross-cultural, I’m excited to take what I’ve experienced back with me.

Although we are taking part of South Africa with us, I know we have left a little of ourselves behind.  This place has become a home away from home for many of us.  Challenges have been overcome.  Friendships have been formed.  New perspectives have been presented.  Joy, love, sadness, humility, and peace have been felt.  We have been on a journey that changes lives and now it is time to say good-bye here and hello to our next adventure.

-Kimberly Lane