She claps her hands in delight as she remembers what she was going to share about being a small child wrapped tightly around her nanny's back. The nanny worked along and sang lullabies in Zulu while Cathy was rocked and warmly cared for by the hired woman. Our beautiful South African friend with her intriguing accent, moves onto descriptions of the landscape, of playing in the river where crocodiles lurked, of picking sugar cane on the plantation, of driving to school on the back of a donkey cart, and of covering her ears at night to keep out the lions' roar. Things we'd merely read about in books came to life as real experiences were expounded upon in great detail. The books gave us initial insight into the country but nothing created such a tangible sense of the true Africa as the stories of one who knew it as her home.
But with all the joy of chronicling her life in the southernmost part of the continent, and telling of the charming childhood she had known, her story was sprinkled with trauma and fear. Apartheid, war, and constant dread of attack on their home led a grown-up Cathy and her husband to the decision to move to Canada and raise their children in freedom and safety. Still, tears fall each time her plane lowers over South Africa when she visits her native home.
As we begin to wrap up our study on Africa, more and more captivating aspects are revealed and it seems almost impossible to complete it. Perhaps we never will. Cathy, thank you so very much for gracing our home with your presence and for the narration of your adventures in your dear country. You have opened our eyes to more of its beauty. It's obvious you can take the girl out of South Africa, but you can't take South Africa out of the girl :)