I can barely contain myself in my excitement for the South Africa trip that will begin on May 31. Not counting my day in Morocco last year, it has been more than ten years since I have stepped foot in Africa, and that is far too long ago. Granted, this trip will be much shorter in duration (only two weeks) than my last trip to Africa. I won’t be spending a substantial part of this trip in a place that is hundreds of miles removed from electricity. I will not probably wake up with 50 bites on my arms and legs from bed bugs, nor will I worry about black mambas hanging out near the pit latrines. We aren’t staying anywhere that cost less than $5 a night this time, either. However, no matter how out of date I may be, there are three items that I will be bringing with me to South Africa to tie me back to my last Africa visit:
1. A cheap Timex Ironman Triathelete Watch – I just picked up this one from Target this weekend. The Timex was how I ensured that I was always on time in Africa, and calculated just how precisely late everyone else was (Typical lateness of everyone else – one hour or more). It was how I woke up in the morning, and how I kept track of time in the dark. I love the look of a Timex watch for reminding me how simple my life was before I was introduced to my prized Hermes watch.
2. A Blank Book – Just this past weekend, I was looking through my multi-volumed field journal that I kept while I was in East Africa. It combines the field journal that I kept for class grading purposes as well as my personal journal that I kept for sentimental reasons with the pictures and mementos that I collected. Writing is how I kept my sanity when at times I felt very sad and alone in Africa. It was also how I painstakingly recorded details of my trip that still give me such a vivid sensation of having been present in Tanzania last week, even though it was over ten years ago. I am not as good as recording the details as I once was, but I have a feeling Africa will spark a return to form.
3. An all purpose Kanga – I will probably bring my green and orange one that I have had since last time I was in Tanzania that reads “Riziki Ya Mtu Hupangwa Na Mungu” which translates to “One’s Fortunes are Planned by God.” I realize, South Africa has its own unique cultures distinct from East Africa, but when I am in Africa, I am a girl who needs a kanga for something.