19 september Abu Dhabi (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)

Here I am in the capital of the UAE. How many sad memories crowd my mind.


Just a year ago I spent my last night of freedom before returning to Kabul ...
The next day I embarked from Al Bateen to spend the last three months of my mission in Afghanistan: the worst ones. I did not know what I was going to meet ...

 

20 september Johannesburg (SOUTH AFRICA)

Jo'burg (for locals) welcomes us at the dawn!
We miss the chance to get an idea of the city and we are already on a van towards Pretoria.

Even there, loaded the equipped truck that will accompany us throughout the trip: tents, mattresses, food, backpacks we depart inbound Kruger National Park.
The group is cool, I like it!
We arrived late in the evening, we are exhausted, dirty, hungry ... we assemble the tents without light, it really puts a strain on our nerves but we do not loose calm and quickly assemble not only a good camp but we prepare, thanks to our chef: Anna, a good dinner!

It's nine p.m. when I crash on my sleeping bag... I haven't been sleeping for two days!

 

21 september Kruger National Park (SOUTH AFRICA)

At 4:45 someone is already wandering around our tents!


Shortly after we are all in the truck completely immersed in the atmosphere of our first safari together.
Among us there are people who deeply loves Africa and has already had the chance to discover it on previous trips. Some people tell stories, adventures or explain the characteristics of many animals that we encounter along our journey ...

I try for once to "travel with my heart", to "look with my heart rather than with the eyes". It works.
For a moment I was completely abstract and closing my eyes I felt just the nature with its sounds and noises.

22 september Praia do Tofo (MOZAMBICO)

In Africa you need to be patience.
If you're not patient: you will become!
Patience to be dozens of hours in an uncomfortable van waiting, looking, hoping to see some animal during the safari.
Patience to endure the bureaucracy of the border; patience to bargain for a decent exchange rate between South African rand and Mozambique Metical.

After leaving South Africa with its beautiful Kruger National Park we forget the "western" world, the remains of the old Boer today called "Afrikaners" vanish immediately in the red dust of the ground in Mozambique.
Crossing the border: we leave the language changes, English with Dutch accent and a very warm Portuguese welcomes us.
We are in Africa and this time for real!

In these days there has been some problems in Maputo due to the increase of the price of bread and water. We wisely decide to avoid the capital and that is why we leave the only paved road to immerse ourselves in a godforsaken path... big holes, dust, sand, jungle landscape backdrop to our journey...

For hundreds of miles we do not find anything except some little baby popped out of nowhere and a few lonely goat ...

Sometimes I spell briefly to observe their huts and through them I try to imagine how it could their daily lives be... it's hard not to tender compassion for these people who are born here, who find themselves living a life of hardship and struggle daily to survive...
I am not exaggerating and a good example it is given me by the girl who fights with her friends to grab an empty plastic bottle ...

So how can't we feel lucky in front of so much misery? How not to feel "small" when you're stuck in traffic or when you break, at home, a silly ornament and you get angry? Here, everything comes back to its true value.

Fannie, our Afrikaner driver, continues straight... we go back to the dark continent!

 

 

 

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