Christmas Reflections

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Christmas Eve 2014. We sit on camp chairs dotted randomly around the rocky outcrop, surveying the horizon. The sky glows yellow and orange as the sun slowly descends over the distant hills. Our hair is whipped by the breeze; the cool evening air is balm to our heat-ravaged skin; the quiet stillness soothes our soul. We sip champagne from mugs and Erik begins, first quietly, then with increasing confidence, to sing a traditional Norwegian Christmas song.

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This is the most romantic Christmas Eve I have ever spent, and yet I am not with any loved one, but surrounded by 10 people I never met until 10 days ago, and whom I may never see again after this trip. I would honestly not be anywhere else right now. Each of us is lost in our thoughts, hopes, memories and dreams. I shed a silent tear for my father, and know that while I am far from home and family, while he will never experience another Christmas or another sunset, another trip to Africa, his spirit is here with me, and we sit together in peace.

This is Africa at its finest. And for me, this is what Christmas is about.

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