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People waiting by a church for sunrise on Mount Sinai, Egypt (2012-07)

I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke that I was not happy


‘So, what was the highlight?’ everyone wants to know now I’m back home. Honestly, I have difficulties answering this question. There were so many things I will never forget. So many highlights. In every country. On every day.

People want to know how I fill my days. They want to hear about wild animals, stunning landscapes, exotic food and strange customs. One thing, though, I never really get to talk about are the nights. But it’s those nights that set the background for the light of the coming day.

The nights are darker than black and they have the brightest stars I’ve ever seen. They are all so quiet and then come alive with all kinds of noises. They come running towards me. ‘Carola-bug!!!’ They smile at me and say with a broad South African accent: ‘Hey Pixie.’ Fairy. They look at me with all the pain in the world wondering whether or not to reach for me. ‘Whatever is going on in your head you need to get over it.’ They slip under my blanket and I feel the hair on the back of their head. Which is so soft. They lie on top of me and look up with a broad grin. ‘I’m done.’ They pat their chest and bid me to lie there in their arms on their warm, soft skin.

‘I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke that I was not happy.’ Hemingway wrote that somewhere in one of his stories about East Africa. I read it on a hostel wall in Zambia. There was only one morning in Africa when I woke and was not happy. It was on that morning on the roof of a police station in the town of 333 saints that I decided to enjoy. That night full of unknowns had taught me that every moment of life is a highlight if you choose it to be. And you must choose it to be.

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