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By Dan Austin /

A friendly face to pick us up

It took all of 5 minutes on the ground in South Africa to forget about the 26 hours it took to get here (the last 14 straight Atlanta to Johannesburg). You see it is blatantly obvious from your very first contact with the African people, they welcome you with open arms and a warm heart.  You “glide” through customs and passport control with smiles and welcomes.

With our crazy busy stateside lives we don’t notice how “short” and downright rude many have become.  But here in a land where so many have so little, there is an abundance of compassion, kindness and warm, welcoming openness.

At dinner our first night in an airport hotel, our waiter shared with us growing up a Zulu in Mozambique and moving to Johannesburg 12 years ago for work. He taught us how to say thank you in Zulu “Ngiyabonga”, but assured us everyone we meet will know and appreciate an “English” thank you and a smile even more.

This morning we continue on to Namibia, seems you can’t have a bad day in Africa, the locals just won’t have it.  Beautiful people in a beautiful land.  The next few weeks are sure to be sensory overload. Above all else re-charging my appreciation of simple things and reminding me to start each day with a smile.

We feel at home with “Mother Africa”

Dan Austin

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