We walked together. It was a bright starlit night and none of us could really see what was in front of us except for Simon. We followed his dim cell phone light, which he did not really need because he knew the farm well. We crisscrossed through the trees and negotiated the Mucombedze river until we had to walk up a steep hill to see the first sign of life in the form of a fire and a small boy running to where it was burning to signal our arrival.
Domingo welcomed us graciously and prepared some seats for us. We sat underneath an open hut. In the middle a small but ample fire was burning. Except for the light from the fire and a small torch hanging from the roof it was dark and we could hear what nighttime sounds like in Northern Mozambique. His wife was busy with the tsa-tsa and the fish they had caught earlier that day cooked on the fire. He had a big family and after we took our seats we asked him about his family and we spoke about ours. We shared stories and laughed at cultural differences and both our families observed each other with a succinct feeling of belonging.
We walked back and tried not to turn on our torches so that our eyes could get use to the dark to see what was around us. The joy and simplicity of what we had just experienced made us talkative and cautious and we wanted more of this in our own lives. Francois said earlier that day that what Africa needs is for people to need Her. Africa needs you to need Africa. Without that need, the wealth of all she has to give would just not make any sense.
Our journey into and out of Mozambique was a challenging one. Border post stresses, bus trouble, political turbulence and military convoys all made for a chance to practice some calming breathing exercises. Often it had become a showdown between creating memories and staying present and we realized the two had drawn a line and left us no choice but to carefully understand the edge of the knife they shared. Nevertheless, we made it to where we were supposed to be. Especially if that meant a Gorongosa sunrise next to nowhere on the side of the road, waiting for a blowtorch. Or a petrol station that had military men show us their AK47’s and hand grenades, all in a reassuring attempt to convince us of our safety, of course, whilst waiting for the next military convoy that only arrived the next morning.
It comes down to this: We had gone on an adventure, and when one decides to do this, it starts when that very thought had just happened, sometimes weeks or months before the actual adventure itself. Many do not work through their ideas or thoughts on what they know are calling towards them, and when they do they have to be ready. We pushed through difficult situations to get where we then needed to be. The ones who push the limits discover, the limits sometimes push back.
Africa now needs us to need her, and with a new crew of vocational explorers, pushing the limits has become something that we all need to share and keep sharing, until we find that place where we needed to be all along, without us even knowing it.
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T. S. Eliot