I was mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted. At 56 I have traveled the world quite a few times and it hit me that I just need to leave. So I packed a backpack, packed a huge suitcase full of teaching and school supplies and left the US. I choose African Impact 's Big 5 because I wanted to be on the Conservation side of volunteering. I have always had a deep, abiding love for our fellow passengers on this planet. When I landed in Jo'Burg and made the trip to Dumela Lodge I was hit by two things. 1st the welcome was traditional, a musical song that made me wonder why I sit in a cubicle everyday at work. 2nd, the smiles, the air, the wide open space, I drank this all in and just Relaxed.
The 1st presentation was mind blowing, I was in a room with people from 15 countries and we all felt the same way! It has been decades since I have had this warm comfortable feeling of kinship. We shared where we were from, what we wanted to do and than we took off running. My 2nd night there we were staying in the Bush Camp in Klaserie part of Greater National Kruger Park. Between the Lion walking through our camp, finding the Breakaway Females with a fresh kill, Ellie's, Giraffes, Cape Buffalo's, Leopards, well I could go on and on! Eating dinner and turning around to see a Hyena put the biggest grin on my face! Sleeping to the sounds of Lions calling and Hyenas cackling, best therapy ever! Community projects became therapy for me. Building, painting and planting Keyholes gardens at the schools (Crash's) was a lesson in humility. The children were so happy and with so very little. To be able to help provide food so they can have more than one meal a day and be able to go home and help their parents learn to grow a garden, well it puts life in perspective. We dug out ponds, we cleared sickle bushes and burned them before the rains came. After 2 days I forgot about what day it was, after 2 weeks I just wanted to stay. I fell in Love with Africa and I want to go back!