Home, James, (and Sam)

All good things must come to an end. Our last few days in Africa were spent in the hustle and bustle of central Dar Es Salaam, winding down and thinking about home. Sam, like me, became nostalgic, starting to once again notice the Africa which we had initially found interesting or different but over the months had become to accept as normal.

On the Sunday morning, outside our hostel front door a throng of young men, all dressed in red, jogged past the front door in formation while they chanted in deep rhythmic tones, reminiscent of a hunting group or a political rally rather than the simple exercise group that they were. A middle-aged shirtless man on a street corner worked himself into a lather of sweat as he drummed in the equatorial sun, neck extended and eyes closed in concentration while the street traffic largely ignored him. Bus conductors yelled destinations out of the open sliding doors of minivans, political rants crackled out of speakers, and twisted and deformed beggars held out their tired hands as we ran the obstacle course of the street sidewalk; ‘My friend’, ‘Mumbo’, ‘How are you mzungu?’.

A series of lasts: our last night, our last meal, our last walk on an African street, and finally our last road trip, as we caught the taxi out through the dense traffic to the airport.  Thanks to a delayed flight and a missed connection in Perth, 30 hours and two nights in a row spent in a plane, and then we were home. We spied the familiar skyline of Sydney as we arced over the emerald city shimmering in the dawn light, and we finally fell into the arms of Benison. Six months almost to the day and our adventure was over.

I will leave the last word to Sam, who will write the final upcoming blog with a selection of photographs from the trip. It has been a life-changing experience for both of us, and we both thank you all for taking an interest. I hope that not only have you been entertained but also inspired to both embrace and rejoice in Africa, but also to never be confined or defined by whatever challenges life lays out before you.

As many of you will know, a book (title yet to be finalised) and a documentary (‘Sam’s Best Shot’) are in the pipeline. We will let you know on this blog when further information is at hand.

P.S. The photos attached are the view of Dar from our hotel, our family welcome home and Sam’s first selfie on Bronte beach the day after our return.