Saturday, April 29, 2006
Places I have visited
Up to age 18, I had never flown. But on a few family vacations (from South Africa) we drove across the border to neighboring countries: Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and self-governing "homelands" which are part of South Africa again since 1994: Transkei, Lebowa, Kwazulu, QuaQua, Venda and Bophutatswana.
In 1987, I went to the US as an exchange student, and the US, Canada and Germany were added to my list of countries visited.
While attending the University of Pretoria, I got the chance to go to Namibia with friends (that's before that country was made famous by Brad and Angelina...). I also went on a university choir tour, and in one trip, I added a slew of countries to my list: Estonia, Latvia, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Monaco, Italy, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.
A few years later, I moved to Taiwan, and from there, I got to visit Hong Kong (which was independent of China at the time), Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, China, Guam (though that's technically a US territory), Singapore, Kenya and New Zealand.
Then I went back to the US for grad school, and Mexico got added to the list as we did missions preparation weekends across the border.
Now that I'm living back in Africa again, I've had the chance to go and teach in Ethiopia, and next week, I'm going to Sudan for outreach.
I would've never thought that in my life I'd get to see so much of the world! Traveling isn't my goal in life. It just so happens that I've had the opportunity to see much of God's creation.
The most beautiful place I've ever been? There are several that stand out:
* the underwater splendor of Sipidan Island (Malaysia)
* God's Window (Mpumalanga province, South Africa)
* the Outeniqua Forest (Eastern Province, South Africa)
* Grand Canyon (USA)
* Taroko Gorge (Taiwan)
* Table Mountain (Cape Town, South Africa)
* the Maasai Mara (Kenya)
* Swakupmund (Namibia)
* Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
But then faces pop up in my mind, of people whom I love who have made even obscure little villages and towns some of my favorite places in the world.
Somehow, I believe, my visit to Sudan next week will have such an impact on my life that the faces of the kids living among the cattle, for example, will probably be etched in my mind... I can't imagine it being otherwise.