The Last Blog – Zinkwaze South Africa and Kelsey Graduates!

Our beachside home

Our beachside home

Alas, my African sojourn has come to an end. My last few days on the Dark Continent were spent on the beautiful Kwazulu-Natal coast of South Africa north of Durban in an opulent beach house owned by Anne’s sister-in-law who lives in Capetown.

We knocked around there for three days, filling up only a tiny bit of the large residence (“Which living room should we sit in this evening?”) and enjoying sun bathing by the pool and daily forays to the beach.

On Zinkwaze beach

On Zinkwaze beach

What a journey from my simple lifestyle for six months at Sega school in Tanzania to my busy month working on the Girls Negotiation project in Zambia, followed by the varied tourist adventures of the past few weeks in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia, with a final exit point of total luxury in South Africa. My head is spinning!

Zulu basket

Zulu basket

While at Zinkwaze beach, I admired the Zulu baskets that were part of the home’s décor along with the lovely paintings by Anne’s late father in law, all of which appealed to my interest in art collecting and interior design.  I wanted to buy an open Zulu basket to display the ostrich eggs I’d brought from Namibia but the place to buy them, Ilala Weavers, was a two hour drive north of where we were staying and this amount of excess driving didn’t fit with our focus on relaxation.  Anne even spent some time in the hammock de-stressing from the excess excitement we’d had in Namibia.

Anne nap time

Anne nap time

We mostly cooked for ourselves as Zinkwaze is a residential beach community with little commercial activity, especially at this time of year when most of the homes are empty, waiting for their owners to visit during school holidays over Christmas.  The majority of the human activity in the area is the multitude of African hired help who protect and care for these vacation homes and are evident walking and biking to or from the home in their care.

After Zinkwaze, I flew to Montreal to attend Kelsey’s graduation from McGill. I had a house exchange banked from a few years ago so my dad, Gail, and I lived in comfort in a lovely Montreal home in the leafy neighborhood of Westmount.  It was cold and rainy at first which was a bit of a shock after so much African sunshine over the past several months and I was woefully underprepared, especially in the footwear department as I had only sandals and a pair of running shoes.  Luckily, I was able to borrow one of Kelsey’s roommate’s Hunter boots, a life saver.

The graduate

The graduate

Kelsey graduated this afternoon.  Congratulations Kels!  It was a beautiful, sunny day and the graduation was an efficient, well-oiled event that lasted exactly two hours.  Afterwards, we hosted a party here at our nice exchange home for Kelsey, two other graduating girls, their families and many of Kelsey’s friends.  It was fun to meet everyone and celebrate such a happy event.

Kelsey returns to Berkeley in a few days to start studying for the MCAT’s in August.  In October,  she is off to the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, VA to intern with Dr. John Garrett, a heart surgeon, for eight months before applying to medical school next summer.  It’s fun to finish the blog this way since it started when I dropped Fraser off for his first year at Drexel University in Philadelphia and it’s ending with Kelsey’s graduation from McGill – nice symmetry!

There is the possibility that I will go back to Africa soon as the folks running the Girls Negotiation project in Zambia have asked if I would return to manage it through to completion, which would be at least until the end of this year and possibly through the middle of next year, but I’ve made no decision. I’m just very happy that the time I had in Africa over the past eight months was rewarding and interesting, the people I met were warm and welcoming, and that I come away with a knowledge of new places, an awareness of different cultures, the experience of two wonderful projects, and several new friends.

Thanks for reading the blog and I look forward to seeing you soon!

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17 thoughts on “The Last Blog – Zinkwaze South Africa and Kelsey Graduates!

  1. A beautiful wrap-up to your truly fascinating sojourn to Africa–I’ve enjoyed every single post! Thank you for telling your story as you’ve gone along, and for the gorgeous photos.

  2. April — You have had a great adventure and I have enjoyed reading your blogs and seeing the pictures.
    Look forward to seeing you next week.
    Congratulations on the successful completion of your African Adventure.

  3. Wow April. Looks like you’ve got a problem on your hands. How are you ever going to keep from getting bored once you have had such fascinating life experiences ?

  4. Hey, April. Congrats on all the adventures this year. I would like to meet up with you after your return. I’ve moved to West Oakland, and it’s been a trip. Zillah

  5. Wow – what a journey you’ve had! Thank you for sharing it by your inspiring posts. And what a great way to end it – celebrating Kelsey’s graduation! Hope to be able to catch up with you this summer!

  6. April it was great having you train us in preparation for the Girls Arise Project, you are truly an inspiration. It sure would be nice if you came back on the project, we miss having you. Its been great reading about your adventures and being part of one of them.
    Congratulations on your daughter’s graduation.

  7. Well that’s two major achievements to be incredibly proud of: your time in Africa, which sounds like an enriching exoperience for all concerned, and Kelsey who has done so well. Congratulations to both of you! X

  8. April,

    A Dream come true. Perfect is not an option. But wonderful is. And you made an experience that was wonderful, meaningful, and enriching for yourself and others. It has been a joy to witness your Journey from our initial conversations about “possibilities” to see your choices and finding ways to deliver real value into the world. David

  9. So excited to have you back! Be sure and get in touch when you are ready to socialize. I have loved every blog post and will miss them. But bow I have you, instead!

    Ann

    Sent from my iPad

  10. Thanks for writing the blog. What a great record of your amazing experiences. We look forward to seeing you soon. And congrats to Kelsey!

  11. Wow April, how nice!! ( great job! ) i looking forward to seeing you, great job Kelsey it bring back Memories back to 20 years ago , you are one lucky girl to have April as you Mom!!!

  12. Hi April,
    Welcome back! I’ve really enjoyed your blogs, and it was great that you were able to modify the experience to really suit you.

    Congratulations on Kelsey’s graduation.
    Caroline

  13. Hey April! Am glad you enjoyed your stay in Africa. Hope to see you soon, keeping my fingers crossed. The Girls Arise project has been very exciting, the girls are having a blast and learning a lot too. Am sure you will want to see for yourself.
    Congratulate your daughter for me on her graduation

  14. April, congratulations on so many fronts! Missed you at Princeton ’83 thirtieth but I know you were busy! Thought of you when I hung out with Daphne Wysham and Kathy Goetz at Colonial. What’s your email? I’ll be coming through Oakland around August 17th or the next few days after that, was wondering if Talia and I could crash at your place, we are picking up Will from a conservation service project on the 19th and I wanted to take him to Alcatraz and then maybe road trip along the redwood coast.

    Love, Lisa

  15. April. Congratulations for your daughter. I can see that you have had a great time in Africa and hope you will have time to go there again in December. So many beautiful and colorfull pictures. I loved reading your blogg tonight. We finally saw the sun here in Iceland after 3 weeks of clouds and fog. Welcome back home.

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