|Such a funny thing (to us anyway), an oxpecker on this giraffe’s nose.|
|We were so close to this giraffe it was easy to get this photo.|
|After exiting Lionspruit, we spotted this giraffe on the opposite side of the fence. We noticed an oxpecker on his nose.|
|A Vervet monkey in a tree in the yard.|
How do we begin to tell the story of friendship and hospitality that surrounds us in South Africa…in Marloth Park? Sure, we’ve met wonderful people all over the world, on cruises, during tours, and in neighborhoods, many of whom we’ve stayed in close touch over these past years, many of who’ve become lifelong friends.
|The somewhat enclosed braai area offered a barrier between the lions and us in Lionspruit.|
We never take for granted the opportunity to meet new people and to build new relationships. Undoubtedly, such friendships take time to cultivate, and when we have time in a location, we relish in these relationships as they mature.
|It was a perfect day to be outdoors, not too hot, not too cool.|
Some relationships are with couples we meet along the way, and others are individuals with whom we find a particular affinity when meeting one-on-one or in a group. On Sunday, such was the case when Louise and Danie included us in their “inner circle” (my words, not theirs) of people they’ve come to know and love after many years in Marloth Park.
|The covered veranda at Frikkie’s Dam provides shelter in the event of rain.|
The commonality they share, as Danie described only this morning when he and Louise stopped by, is their “lack of baggage,” the kind that may make some people judgmental, critical, or of a less than warm demeanor and personality.
|From left to right, Danie, Alison, and Dean posed for a photo. Everyone works tirelessly and unselfishly for the preservation of Marloth Park.|
Over time, this group was “hand-picked” for the special qualities they each possess in their unique way. What intrigued us the most was how different each individual is, bringing a wealth of great experiences, education, and backgrounds.
|From left to right, Nicki, Louise, and Cora.|
Many countries are represented in this group of friends…many cultures, many varying walks of life. But, the one passion they each share is their passion and love for Marloth Park and their determination and dedication in contributing, however big or small, in maintaining the integrity that so well defines this magical place.
|Andre, Cor, and Tom.|
It’s not that other locals are excluded from this group. Luckily, they all came together over time, as friends and ultimately as “family” when many of their family members are so far away.
|Andre was one of the first residents of Marloth Park in the 1970s. He and Cor, to his right, are great friends. Michel is to the left.|
To be included means a lot to us, as it has been with all of our friends here in Marloth Park. We don’t have South African roots, heritage, and culture in our repertoire of world experiences as many of them do. Even those from far away places have been here long enough to have wound their lives, their existence around a lifestyle and persona that is unique unto itself, unlike any we’ve encountered in these past years of world travel.
|Nicki, Louise, and Cora.|
They have so much history together entwined in endless stories that made us both realize, should we have the opportunity to be with them again, that in time we’ll collectively build our own stories, our memories, and our level of inclusiveness that is found in a friendly mélange of locals sharing their lives, their dreams, and their hopes for the future.
|Cora, Matthew, Michel, and Andre.|
We apologize if we’ve missed including photos and names of everyone present on Sunday’s braai at Frikkie’s Dam. Hopefully, next time, we won’t be so preoccupied with the wonder of it all, failing to include everyone in our photos.
|We brought a gluten-free quiche to share. Louise and Danie cooked meats on the open fire, and others brought their items.|
Again, and we mean again, thanks to Louise and Danie and all of our friends in the bush for making this life genuinely feel like “home.” Wherever we may travel in the world, our memories will travel with us…in our hearts, in our minds, and our eternal love of Marloth Park, South Africa.
|When we return from Zambia, we plan to meet with Andre to write a story of his over 40 years in Marloth Park. He’s holding a piece of our quiche in his hand.|
Happy day to all!
Photo from one year ago today, May 8, 2017:
|Aboard the ship, I made a new friend, Helen. She and I decided to visit Lahaina Maui for some “girl time,” leaving Tom behind on the ship while we browsed the shops. It was a great day. For more details, please click here.|