JOURNEY TO MY ROOTS :: The Educational Stops

While in South Africa last summer, I was enlightened at the Apartheid Museum, especially when I considered the parallels to life here in the US.  Even more exciting was the fact that South Africa came out of apartheid and still continues to keep dialogue going about race relations and how to make things better.   We also ventured to President Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto.  While in South Africa, you cannot help but notice the beauty all around you.

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JOURNEY TO MY ROOTS… THE MOTHERLAND… AFRICA :: FRIENDS :: How many of us have them… FRIENDS :: Before we go any further!

Two months ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Africa.  This was one of those trips that I always knew I wanted to make, but the timing just hadn’t been right.  Well, at some point in 2015, we all decided to make the leap of faith and plan this trip.  I am so absolutely blessed and fortunate to have 2 of the most amazing FRIENDS there are out there!  I mean, I don’t know too many people that I can just say, “Hey, I wanna go to Africa.  Are you in?” and they will respond with, “Just tell me when to book my flight!”  But not only are they down for the ride, but they are also the LIFE of the PARTY!!!!!  Let me tell, there is never a dull moment with these ladies… especially when they are together.  While there were many times when I was the subject of the joke, these ladies were able to take it just as well as they “dished it.”  We laughed so much on this trip that it was really hard to leave it and return back to our normal lives…. but a cell phone bill and a trip to the grocery store will help snap you back to reality! I wanted to share some of my favorite moments from my trip to Africa with these ladies… There were other moments as well, but I didn’t have approval to post everything 😉

As I reflect on the years of friendship I have with the 2 ladies – Tamerra and Le’Toya – my heart is filled with joy.  They have been there through the thick and thin… We have maintained contact even while spending more years living in separate cities than times in the same cities…. We talk several times a week despite our busy schedules… These friends are the ones who stay in touch with me and keep me in check.  Le’Toya constantly reminds me to keep God first, and Tamerra continues to bring the my remembrance the need to have compassion.  They both pray for me and encourage me when my days seem darker.  These ladies never let me take myself too seriously, and they “give me permission” to take it easy (and stop working… whether I am putting the camera or the red pen down).   These ladies will sit 4 deep in the backseat of a really tiny car with me, even though they may not have their entire bum on the seat just to make it to church on Sunday.  We all think alike, like the time we all ordered empenadas and potatoes, while the other 6 people in our party ordered steaks.  They will capture every moment in selfies… as well as indulge me as I pull out a “real camera” and take 1000 plus photos.  They also take the camera from me to make sure that I am in some of my memories 🙂  They can be serious when needed, and they will celebrate every single victory and milestone with you!  I love these girls, my friends… these chicas!  I am so thankful God saw fit to send them into my life to stay for the long haul!  Here’s too friendship!  Here is to the journey!  Here is to Tamerra and Le’Toya!

 

These are scenes from the safari in Madikwe, South Africa, as well as travels around Johannesburg and Soweto.  Some of the highlights were traveling to the Apartheid Museum, Nelson Mandela’s house, and the Monte Casino.   There was a lot of food eaten, but I chose to focus these images on friendship!

 

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JOURNEY TO MY ROOTS… THE MOTHERLAND… AFRICA :: ANIMAL SIGHTINGS

Being in Africa was amazing to say the least.  I must admit, I had never seen many of these animals in their natural habitat or with freedom to roam.  In the United States, we see non-domesticated animals in the zoo… almost exclusively.  It was such a joy to see these animals on our safari the way that God originally made them.  Some animals, like the rhinoceros, were so difficult to see because of their ability to blend in.  I am absolutely in awe of God’s creation!  See some of the animals I saw below.

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On the safari!

 

Taking Portraits with Friends

A few years ago, I went to Niagara Falls for the first time with my friend Le’Toya.  I posted some of the scenic pictures around that time.  Anyway, while there, I had my camera, so Le’Toya and I decided to make the most of the beautiful scenery and take a few portraits.  If you know Le’Toya and me, you would know that there were plenty of silly pictures in there.  But, we did also manage to squeeze in some classics!  I must say, I think we did pretty good on the fly that HOT summer day!  See some of my favorite images below.

 

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