A Very Special Christmas In South Africa

Talking about hospitality and friendship, I always think first on my dear friends in South Africa, who not only taking care of my Land Rover when I’m back in Switzerland, but also introduced me to the entire family and thought me a lot about the country and their business, farming.

Every time after I arrived the country, I was invited to stay at least a few days on their farm. I was taken around, got to see what’s changed since my last visit and spend also time with their sons and their families or friends. There’s no warmer welcome possible, since they make me feel as part of the community, almost family, but not as stranger anymore. It went so far, I got invited to the big family reunion for Christmas two years ago. 

When I came back this year, I was missing my old friend H., who sadly passed away last January. That terrible covid-pandemic got another victim. A big man with big heart let behind not only a beloved wife, but also five sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

I spent some time with my lady friend A., the widow and sharing good memories about Sir H. And listen to interesting stories from the past. Although I had other plans, A. Invited me again for Christmas to join the family gathering. When my plans got changed, she almost insist to come and I couldn’t deny the honor which was given to me again.

Terrible news reached me a day before the family gathering: my dear friend A. passed away. I was in shock of that completely unexpected event. She was in deep grief of the big loss of her husband, but seemed physically strong and healthy. 

To be frankly, I was not only in shock, but also got uncertain, how to deal with the grieving family. Was it inappropriate to stay on the farm? Should I arrange anything special and how can I show my deep condolences to them? But once again I felt the big hospitality of this family, which decided to gather in memory of Lady A. and welcomed me to stay. 

The festive days began early morning with a memorial ceremony of Lady A. 

All family members gathered on a viewpoint of the farm, where the bush opens to beautiful African landscape with the Blouwe Berge on the horizon. All helped making this spot special with putting flowers, oranges and candles there. I was asked to help with filming and photographing for keeping it in memory, and I was grateful to be able to contribute something

The family said goodbye with singing, reading from the Bible, sharing some memories about this lady with a big heart. It was a wonderful, heartwarming event, made me feel cry over the loss of such a good friend.

Despite this awful loss, the family knows life goes on. And in good memories, the joy of Christmas wasn’t forgotten. Children playing cricket or rugby on the grass, on the braai (SouthAfrican BBQ) is food roasting and from time to time we drove around the farm to watch the wildlife. This also included a thorn in a kid foot, which I tried to remove, or some minor sun burn after floating on the pools bit too long. 

There’s a lot of talk, laughter, play and of course food and drink. Special occasions like icing of cookies (#lebkuchenhaus), swimming in a water reservoir in the bush or delivering gifts, are not missed either. 

All in all a very jolly time, but never forgotten the two people who founded this family

You will understand, that I avoid to show clear faces, since this was a private occasion. Nevertheless, I want share some impression from these special and emotional days. Also as an expression for my gratefulness for all this hospitality and big friendship.

Zanzibar – Jambiani Beach

At least one of these famous beaches of Zanzibar i have to explorer. I choose Jambiani at east coast of Zanzibar. Many kite-surfers had the same idea, as a school class and football players too. It became a lively spot, despite the low tide, when i arrived.

Fun Group Hiking At Mt.Longonot

Mount Longonot a quite volcano about two hours drive out of Nairobi, is the destination for a group of friends for a hike. I got invited and joined it with pleasure. Too long time i didn’t hike, and with that funny, open minded and nice people it’s pure pleasure too.

There’s many photos in purpose of giving the people of the group the chance to see them and download it. Have fun along the „photo story“  …and many thanks for the group letting me join in for that day!

with Solita at hot springs

Early morning gives us a clear sight of Mt Kilimanjaro, while the natural hot springs are still deserted. Perfect condition for a photo shooting with Solita (instagram: @solitacruz), the queen of selfies, as she called herself. And indeed, she put herself in great poses and i just had to push the shutter. But yes, you wanna see the results now…

stranded footballer / gestrandete Fussballer

Three young men playing on the campground. Then they run, exercise, training with the ball. They’re doing their daily training, i get explained. Asking for their story, they told me a rather sad one. Discovered in a Ghana football club from an agency, they were offered contracts in other countries. A plane ticket to Zambia was paid by that agency. Arrived in Lusaka, they waited to get introduced to their new football club and for a contract. The local agent put them on a camp, where they live since all together in a small, blue tent. This was more than two month ago, without any sign of the agent anymore. The footballer and the agency in Ghana failed to reach the local agent or get a contract. The owner of the camp is helping out with food and support, they explain me. Going back to Ghana is not a option yet. They’re here to get a better income, or maybe there’s another country which takes them as footballer. What impressed me most is their optimism and constant smile.

Drei junge Männer spielen auf dem Campingplatz Fussball. Zwischendurch rennen sie um die Wette, machen Kraftübungen, absolvieren kurze Geschicklichkeitsparcours und jonglieren mit dem Ball. Das ist ihr tägliches Training, erklärt mir einer von ihnen ernsthaft. Nach dem Grund ihres Aufenthaltes gefragt, kommt eine traurige Geschichte zutage. In Ghana von einer Agentur als Fussballer entdeckt, wurden sie nach Sambia vermittelt. Das Flugticket in der Tasche und mit ihren Habseligkeiten, landeten sie in Lusaka, wo sie von einem lokalen Agenten auf den Campingplatz in der Stadt gebracht wurden. Hier leben sie nun zu dritt in einem kleinen, blauen Zelt und warten bis sie einen Vertrag in einem hiesigen Klub unterschreiben können. Doch der Agent lässt sich seid über zwei Monaten nicht mehr blicken und ist weder von der Agentur in Ghana noch vor Ort erreichbar. Zum Glück helfen ihnen die Besitzer des Campingplatzes aus, erzählt mir Michael, einer der Fussballer. Zurück nach Ghana wollen sie nicht. Sie hoffen immer noch auf einen Profi-Vertrag hier in Sambia, oder einem anderen Land, ergänzt Blessing. Was mich am meisten imponiert, ist ihr unerschütterlicher Optimismus und ständiges Lächeln.