African Authorities and Birthday Stories

The first of many African roadtrips: Mozambique to Swaziland to South Africa.

First things first: Africa, at least what I’ve seen of it, is breathtakingly beautiful.  It has mountains, it has ocean, it has animals, it has some of the most vibrant cultures that still exist today.

…But being able to stay in Africa is not always a piece of cake.

Er…cupcake.  Compliments of Tex and Lulu from Shongweni Farmer’s Market.

It was time for another visa renewal, but this time I had to leave Mozambique.  Luckily, the timing couldn’t have been better: I was going to need to leave Mozambique and enter South Africa just in time for Morgan’s 27th birthday!  I had put some forethought into this and not only arranged with Tex and Lulu for my arrival to be a complete surprise, but I also planned a surprise birthday dinner at Billy the Bum’s in Durban for his actual birthday.  Boy, was he surprised!

The birthday boy and a few friends who stayed for a final nightcap shot at Billy’s.

Once having acquired my new Mozambican visa in Durban, I took the time to enjoy being back in the city and with my Durban family.  We perused the Shongweni Farmer’s Market on Saturday (one of my absolute favorites places to go) and went to the Durban Boat Show on Sunday.  We even got the chance to ride in a Honda AquaLounge, compliments of Morgan’s cousin who was working the show.  It really was a beautiful day on the water.

The AquaLounge

Port of Duban, South Africa

Even though I had a fantastic week in Durban, I was ready to head back to work and friends in Vilanculos.  Unfortunately (and because things in Africa often don’t go as planned), I was not to return to Mozambique.  Due to issues with the Department of Immigration in Vilanculos, we have had to shut down our volunteer programs until further notice.  To be completely honest, I felt pretty terrible.

But every cloud has a silver lining, right?

For the time being, I am working as an additional African Impact volunteer coordinator in St. Lucia, South Africa –  about three hours north of Durban.  It’s a small town (although much more developed than Vilanculos), but a beautiful area of the country that I had yet to visit.  Instead of Vilanculos beaches, we have St. Lucia bush… and with that, a large estuary (also a UNESCO World Heritage site) home to hippos and crocodiles alike.

A family of hippos! Just another day in St. Lucia…

So it is a big adjustment, but there is a phrase that people from African countries or who have visited often use when things don’t go as expected: “This Is Africa” (or “T.I.A”).  From my perspective, it’s the African equivalent of “When in Rome…”

Sunset on the St. Lucia Estuary

But you know, at the end of the day, I can’t really complain.

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