Star Date: September 2011
Hello Dear Family & Friends!
( Hi! Zambian)
(Margaret Mead, U.S. anthropologist)
The fire red sun slowly disappeared. Elephants drank at the river's edge as large water fowl slowly winged their way home. Frogs and crickets harmonized their nightly chorus. Fireflies flickered. Sitting along the shores of the Mighty Zambezi River, the 'Smoke That Thunders' roared. Less than 500 meters upstream from the lip of the falls hippos bellowed and crocodiles splashed, oblivious to the peril awaiting them for straying too far from their territory. Soon this wide meandering river drops over the edge of the world into the abyss of Victoria Falls.
Victoria Falls has been called the Seventh Natural Wonder of the World and is unquestionably one of the most majestic waterfalls on the planet. One million liters of water per second pour over the 1.7 km (1 mile) wide strip in the Zambezi Gorge. Rainbows encircle the spray as a thunderous roar escapes from the chasm 108 m (324 feet) below. Hiking the rim of the falls we were able to soak our feet in the slow river as it casually told us "so far so good." Far below, our hike led us past magnificent views of the falls, blessing us profusely with spray as we gazed over at neighboring Zimbabwe. The majesty of Nature. This is a place for your 'bucket list', (a place to visit before you kick the bucket)
David Livingstone, a true explorer, first set eyes on Victoria Falls in1855 during his epic journey down the Zambezi; thus proving that flexibility is paramount in exploration. Still revered by Africans for his life's mission of ending the horrific slave trade, he returned again and again to the continent he loved. In search of the source of the Nile, Livingston ended up on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in 1869. With failing health he pushed on, even though several of his partners abandoned the mission; making claims of the unbearable hardships they faced traveling overland. Livingstone dropping out of sight sparked the interest of the international community and the New York Herald proposed a publicity stunt; sending Henry Morton Stanley off into 'deepest, darkest Africa' in search of him. Money no object, Stanley left from Zanzibar with 200 porters. His search eventually led him to Ujiji near Lake Tanganyika in 1871, where he greeted him with the famous line, "Doctor Livingstone I presume?" Not a bad guess considering he was probably the only European in the area. Stanley tried to convince Livingstone, due to his failing health, to leave Africa but he refused; instead pushing on with his quest. He died of malaria in Zambia and his body was carried for thousands of kilometers by his followers and now lies in Westminster Abbey in London, far from his beloved Africa.
Stepping back in time and dreaming what life was like at the turn of the century we visited the Royal Livingstone Hotel. Sipping a drink along the river's edge, the Falls roaring in the distance, followed by a candlelit dinner on the veranda it is a perfect ending to a day of hiking the Falls. Walking from 'Maari Safari' we encountered curious giraffes and zebras watching us watching them. One never realizes just how tall a giraffe is until you are face to face with them. Well face to chest with them that is.
What strikes you when driving over the border from over crowded Malawi into Zambia, the most thinly populated country in Africa, is the wide open spaces. Your body lets out an instinctive sigh of relief and you breathe easier. Zambia is a country where they walk lightly on the earth, remembering their animal friends and refusing to pollute the environment with GMO. It is possible to drive for hours without seeing more than a couple of small villages. Remote with stunning scenery the whole country seems to be a wild park. Skirting Luangwa, Kafue, and Lower Zambezi National Parks we were treated to scenic wonders and passing animals. Reminding us of camping in the Outback of Australia, Joseph once again just pulled off the road and drove down a side dirt road until we were literally the only ones for miles. We spent many wonderful days just luxuriating in the stillness of Nature; occasionally visited by a passing animal or villager walking to town. We met Robert, a farmer, who took us looking for tourmaline and crystals in a near-by hill. Later we walked to his family home and met his lovely new wife and son.
One day we parked next to a small dirt path in the 'middle of nowhere'. Thinking we were totally isolated we were surprised when a crowd of kids appeared out of the bushes the next morning as we spun around doing our yoga and stretches. Always a good crowd pleaser we had lots of fun exercising together then were invited home to their village, about a mile away. Living in mud huts with thatched roofs we visited several compounds and were welcomed warmly by the families after being excitedly told, "Look what we found in the bush!" Living in total poverty these salt of the earth villagers had more to teach us about enjoying life than we had to teach them. Wide smiles abounded and we left glowing with their hospitality and joy.
All roads lead to the capital of Lusaka and it was there that Joseph stopped by to see the Vice Chancellor of the National University of Zambia. A forward thinker and visionary, Vice Chancellor Simukanga, met with Joseph and they discussed the future of education in Zambia. You never know which young person will be the future leader of positive change in the world. We feel that Education is the Key to Change - and change is crucial to the survival of our planet. Hope springs eternal.
And so it goes.........................................Next month Botswana and Northern South Africa. Until then make sure that we are each part of that group of people working towards change on our planet. Each action, no matter how small contributes to the greater good. Never lose sight of that vision. Never give up! Take care. Keep Smiling. Keep in Touch.
Love, Light & Laughter,
$1.00US = about 5,000 Zambian Kwachas
Don't miss having a cool drink on the terrace of the Royal Livingstone Hotel. Dream of life long ago. (near the lip of the Falls.) Also walk amongst the zebras and giraffes passing through from the neighboring park.
Couldn't begin to tell you where we camped. Just out there somewhere! Parking is easy and friendly in Zambia.