Some of us described it by way of analogy. Our program was like summer camp for adults; Namibia's nature parks were the closest thing to Jurassic Park, the movie. In the desert, we were Lawrence of Arabia. But mostly, we have been ourselves, made much happier by the goofy struts of ostriches and guinea fowls, the curious look from the top of a giraffe's tall neck, or the sideways sway of elephants walking toward us.
It's impossible to sum up the experience
in a few words. But, as it turns out, there are words that come close to capturing the inspiration of it all, and they can be found at the very first place we visited, the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. In the Veld Garden, a place of contemplation after the museum's many stories of struggle and triumph, a plaque stands with a message written specifically for South Africa. But its final sentences will always mean much more to me.
"Take a moment to walk and contemplate the beauty of this, our country. Think of what has gone before and what is still to come. And then walk away free."