Saturday, August 3, 2013

Getting The Beat Of Africa

Well, this is it, the end of the blog. I wanted to share our experience of travel, Africa and particularly the World Transplant Games and what a miracle transplant can be through the life of our Anna. I hope that I was able to convey some sense of wonder and magic that this medical miracle offers to patients and particularly for us and our Anna. And the games, well, they are just so special and unique. At the gala dinner there was a final round of people trading jackets and pins and whatever with each other for souvenirs. As the four of us were saying our good byes we were surrounded by Iranians looking for something to Iranian woman athlete in her grey outfit with head scarf reached out to me with a plastic bracelet carrying the colors of the Iranian flag. She wanted a trade. All that I had was my new Chico necklace that I bought at the Livermore outlet mall. Happily I took the necklace off and placed it over her head and on her neck. She was more than happy. So now, that necklace that has traveled with me from Livermore to Dubai to Durban, South Africa will now travel to Iran and adorn a new neck and sit in a new box....but I wonder how it will really be...whether it will be allowed to be worn....whether it will ever leave the new box home. But most importantly, for me, it just felt so good to give that to her along with the hug. That is the transplant games, acceptance, acknowledgment, living in the same world, sharing joy together, no boundaries, plenty of competition but no enemies. This is the way the world should be, no enemies, just peaceful and friendly relationships.
Tonight was the closing of a very successful games and tomorrow everyone begins to head out. Some are going home and some are touring to the game reserves.  Anna and Casey will be visiting a wild cat rehabilitation center and see the animals at Hluhluwe as we did. They are very excited. Anna will carry her medals with her there and then on to Cape Town before coming home. Doug and I leave Durban tomorrow on the plane for home. I think we are ready. Doug could not leave with out bringing home his special prize, a drum. He was met in the lobby of our hotel this morning by the drum man......they had an exchange and he has packed the beat of the drum into our second bag to check.

We agree that this was a very rich place to visit. It was rich in so much to learn, in how multi-faceted the experiences were and so much to ponder. South Africa still has quite a ways to go in its growth and development but it has a will and a way will be found. It has big problems to solve with HIV, TB, poverty and cultural ideas that must change to become part of the modern world.

But it has also a lot of beauty and spirit as well....

 And, thank you to our friends Frederick and Ruth Ann for taking care of us and showing us around. it would never has been the same or as accessible without you.
 You made all of the difference and allowed us to see so many sides of this interesting place putting all of the pieces together to create a whole, a whole wonderful time.

And readers, thanks for sharing the journey with me.

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