What a day! I’m still floating on the high of how today unfolded so perfectly and so easily, yet began with so much frustration and incredible jet-lag. Last night I booked a tour to visit the historic section of Johannesburg called Pretoria, boasting streets lined with purple Jacaranda trees and historical buildings. It was exactly what I was looking for to begin my African adventures; or so I thought.
I was up all night tossing and turning because my body refused to cooperate with a time difference of 10 hours. I got up around 5am restless and began to get ready for the day. I had breakfast alone in the hotel, without reading or playing with my phone, which was a little unnerving at first. But I settled in, ate up and decided to call the company just to confirm the booking. Much to my surprise, they didn’t have it because they don’t check email on the weekends even though they allow you to book weekend tours on a weekend day.
So in an attempt to keep my business, he offered me the Johannesburg tour instead, for which I sort of cringed in return. I was also super grumpy from the jetlag, but when I heard the description I was bummed. It was a shuttle bus tour around the city stopping at various city elements, but I didn’t come all the way to South Africa to see the city! It seemed I had no other choice unless I wanted to spend another 24 hours in my hotel room. So I agreed.
The tour was exactly what I expected it to be, but nonetheless, it was good to be out and about. Fiftieth floor views at the ‘Roof of Africa’ building, driving past Nelson Mandela’s house, visiting Constitution Hall and other city buildings were all quite interesting in a tourist kinda way, but nothing near the AFRICAN experience I desired. But I was okay with it and told myself that I will have the real Africa on Tuesday when I go to Kruger Game Park and hang with the Big 5. And so I went with the flow, not thinking much of it.
On the last stop of the tour, we visited Stadium City, where the World Cup was. Since I’m not a sports fan and even less of a ‘taking pictures of sports stadiums’ type of person, I snapped a few memory shots and walked quickly back to the shuttle. And then it happened…. I heard African music, drums, singing echoing through the empty property. Could it be true? My heart sped up as I saw a group of maybe 10 children doing incredible African dancing in the distance, just outside the property. I nearly ran people over trying to get there! And what I saw was AMAZING!
These kids were cracking me up with their intense and playful gestures, movements and facial expressions. They put me and my party guests to shame when we attempted African dance at my going away party no more than a week ago. These kids were the real deal, the real Africa. A group of tourists encircled them and for a half hour they danced while a production crew filmed. Of course, I made my way over to the production crew and quickly became friends with the staff.
I learned that the group was called Bana Ba Nkw’e Tota Cultural Group and they performed traditional African dance throughout South Africa. Half-way through my history lesson in broken English, the main camera man ran out of battery on his Canon! A videographer or photographer’s nightmare. I offered to film the rest and send it to them to help out and they were eternally grateful! I became an instant hero to these people.
Within minutes after the shoot finished, I had 20 kids jumping up and down on me, touching my face saying ‘What a Smile’, yelling ‘I love you!’ and blowing me kisses. They wanted pictures with me and to hug me and I felt a reassured sense of mission about my whole trip. The group’s leader offered me their DVD, something they use to fund their project, and he told me to call him no matter what, if I ever need anything. I instantly had a family with these people. This is the Africa I came to see and experience. This was the tour I wanted!
I silently thanked God as a trail of kids followed me back to the shuttle saying goodbye. I held up my tour and my fellow Swiss German tourists aboard weren’t too happy about it, but I didn’t care. I got to make a difference by happenstance and I couldn’t stop smiling on the 30 minute drive back to the hotel!
This experience was just another affirmation for me from the Universe that I am on the right path. I’m gitty with delight and excitement to be in the real Africa, with the natives, the kids, the dancing, the drumming, the pure of heart and the powerful Earth. I feel so full of love and fulfillment. I’m looking forward to next unexpected adventure!
So the moral of the story is: When you go with the flow, you always get what you want in the end! Thank you God!
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