After 9 weeks away it was certainly good to be back in London! I’d been to Africa, living a different life, meeting different people and having different experiences and landing back in Heathrow into a sunny spring day brought a big smile to my face. I love being away and exploring the world but it’s always good to be home.
Here’s a whistle-stop tour through those 9 weeks with just a few photos to illustrate my experiences, I will save you from the rest of the 3,500 photos I took!
The first 6 weeks were spent in Swaziland volunteering on a building project, helping to finish a school building for young children, many of whom are orphans. AIDS has had a devastating impact on Swaziland and many families take in children whose parents have died or are ill, putting great strain on them, so these children need somewhere to go during the day for food and education. Our task was to finish one large schoolroom, plastering it inside and out and laying the floor. That sounds so easy but with no power tools and having to fetch water from a tap across the field it was hard work, but we somehow managed to finish it and I gained all kinds of extra muscles!
Luckily there was some spare time during the project to explore Swaziland and to take some side trips to Mozambique and Kruger National Park. In Kruger, I was able to fulfil my long-held wish to see a leopard and we managed a really close up and personal meeting with this most beautiful beast and to add to my joy we had the opportunity to see several rhinos, a real treat when I think of how few are still left in the world.
One African country that has fascinated me for most of my adult life is Ethiopia with its rich history and fabulous scenery so I decided to spend a couple of weeks touring around after my volunteering. After waiting so long to go there was I disappointed? Absolutely not! Travelling through incredible mountain ranges, and climbing some of them (!); visiting richly painted churches and seeing the religious traditions; learning about their proud rich culture; and, eating their wonderful food – how could I be disappointed. It’s hard to pick out just a few highlights to show in my photos but here goes…
Firstly the mountains:
Churches and traditions:
The food and drink:
The people, I couldn’t whittle these down any further…
And not to be missed – the highest bar in Africa!
I loved my time away, it was a fantastic trip full of fun, exploring and challenges. However, it was really good to be back in London!