How can I sum up my short trip to Africa? I can only add to my previous posts with some glimpses of Africa that touched my heart, inspired me and will make me hope to return. I visited 3 countries over 6 weeks - South Africa, Uganda and Rwanda. I met so many people committed to palliative care and doing much to improve the access for those in need. As ever there are many difficult memories too. There are many who are hungry and trapped by poverty. There is a shocking lack of justice in how the world's share of resources are shared. There is the huge burden of illness and in particuler HIV/AIDS. Visting the genocide museum in Kigali is so essential in understanding something of the horror yet is an emotionally draining experience. What do you think of when you think of Africa? Let me give you a glimpse through my eyes.
Africa is a land rich in its natural beauty. A beauty which is at once accessible and yet wild. Seeing these giraffe up close was amazing - how did God dream up that neck? A rhino waking from it's slumber is an awesome beast; spotting the zebra so carefuly cammoflaged a delight. Beautiful sunsets, thundering rivers, peaceful lakes. I am glad to have survived my Nile kayaking adventure - and thanks to my guide through the grade 5 rapids. Amazing to think of those great explorers spending their lives finding the source of the Nile and here I am paddling down in a small piece of plastic.
Africa's richest beauty is in it's people. Warmth and smiles and help for a 'poor Mzungu' like me. Amazing colours and hair fashions. Bright, curious children; enthusiatic church services (they even asked me to preach!!); great food - especially when you can add some firey piri-piri; talented craftsmen producing work both ancient and innovative; history going back to the cradle of hunmanity yet modern and devloping. So many impressions! Let us hope that Cairderas is able to work with friends and colleagues to support palliative care developments in this amazing continent.