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Blog #29 – Journey Paths become LIFE PATHS!

The decisions we make and the paths we are subsequently taken down…

We are sitting back in the little hilltop town of Iringa, just outside Ruaha game reserve in Southern Tanzania. We passed through here on our way up country in March this year. Coming back sparked a vivid memory of us sitting on the side of the road, here in Iringa, making a big decision on which way to go!

As I have mentioned before Dev and I generally have a very rough plan of where we want to go but also always allowing ourselves the freedom change plans at any given time.

All those months ago we were both figuratively and literally at a crossroads. We had woken up in the morning intending to head north straight to Arusha and then onto Serengeti to see the migration. Whilst sitting on the side of the road exactly where the road forks north or stays east we just stopped at the spur of the moment. Honestly to this day we not sure what made us stop but we did! For some reason we decided to phone our friend Mark Mckenzie who works in Serengeti to find out the status on the wildebeest migration. He assured us that they were indeed around but would also be around for a couple weeks yet. And most importantly, in areas we would more than likely be able to see them. But the risk would be ours to take …….We bounced off a few ideas with him and then amongst ourselves. (still sitting on the side of the road!) We choose to head east to Udzungwa to see the endemic Red Colobus. So, our plans changed there and then and instead of heading north our road took us east.

Unbeknown to us at this stage Udzungwa lies within a few kms of Illovo Sugar’s Kilombero Sugar Estate…… To cut a long story short we were VERY kindly offered a bed(in a house!) to stay with the same friends who we recently stayed with in Dar es Salaam – Nikki and Guy Williams.

Just to add some humour, which we have subsequently heard about….. we had never officially met Nikki or Guy when they lived back in Hillcrest, SA, but Josh and their son Blake went to the same pre-primary school and we had one friend in common. Nikki seeing our journey on facebook, had reached out to us to welcome us to Tanzania and offer us their home at any time. When realising where we were she very kindly offered us to stay with her husband Guy on the sugar estate as he was there for a few days. Poor Guy was thrown into the deep end and was told some complete strangers were ON his doorstep and were coming to stay !!!!! Poor Guy! But he was amazing and made us feel so very welcome. Sugar Estate’s are small places and whilst eating lunch we saw photos of other friends of ours from SA and sitting beside us in the dining room was a friend of my brothers from Malawi who we had been in touch with about going to stay with them when there! What a small world!

Whilst kicking a ball with the kids in the evening another family walked past with small kids and we started to chat to them – Linzi and Gav Taylor, another South African family living and working on the estate. Within seconds the rain came hammering down and we all rushed into our house. They told us we HAD to stay for pizza evening the following night…. Guy thankfully said we were more than welcome! At this stage we hadn’t been in a proper house for ages so was a real treat! Linzi had our kids to play the following day while Dev and went in search for some supplies. My kids obviously loving being around other kids again.

On pizza evening Linzi offered her amazing nanny to babysit our kids with hers so we could have some adult time. What a treat! And what an awesome community of people living on the estate. Far too much wine and beers were drunk and pizza evening ended at 2 or 3am with a LONG drive the next day…. But alas….

With us recently being in DAR we stayed yet again with Guy and Nikki Williams –the most generous amazing family and Josh loved seeing his “old” friend again! And as for Gav and Linzi we also met up with them in Dar Es Salaam before they head off for a new life in Malawi where we will see them again! And we also got to see 2 other Kilombero families we had met whilst on the sugar estate. It was like seeing old friends again! 

And so just by heading east on the spur of the moment a whole new life chain of friendships was made. And how grateful we are for these spurs of the moment decisions, that seem so random at the time, but actually create an entire new path to our journey.

So be open to a change in plans. Sometimes you won’t know the exact outcome from a certain decision….. but more often than not it is a good one! Be open to new people. Because mostly these people you will hold dear to your hearts!

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