In the same way this journey began I find myself once again on a flight somewhere over Africa. What was once anticipation and curiosity is now a collection of memories, photographs, and scribbles in my Moleskine. Acquaintances are now friends, and my bucket list is evidence of the adventures I found in South Africa. It’s quite bittersweet to see this chapter come to a close, and honestly I don’t feel like I’ve spent enough time processing it yet.
While today was my last day in Africa, it was by no means a quiet one. We had one shoot scheduled this morning to round out our shot list. It was possibly the easiest shoot of them all, kind of an anticlimactic ending to a tremendous undertaking. The shoot took place at a super fancy coffee shop deli, so we rolled right into breakfast as soon as we got the shots we needed. Here’s a test shot of Marisa flashing her gangster sign.
The only thing left to do was snap some headshots of the team before packing my bags and eventually heading to the airport. However, in keeping with the theme of this trip we managed to arrange one last shoot after the team headshots.
Mlu is a mechanic on the other side of town, conveniently situated near the airport. He’s a big guy with an even bigger personality. In a nutshell, he nearly died in a car accident which made him realize life is too short not to follow his dreams. Armed with little more than a compressor, jack, and some hand tools he started his own business fixing cars. He now employs about six guys and has a space big enough for each of them to be working on a car.
He was so natural and easygoing in front of the camera. The sun was plummeting toward the horizon filling his shop with beautiful light and shadows. There was a look of gratitude mixed with pride as he cracked a smile and lit up the camera. It was exactly the ending we needed for this ambitious project.
As if that weren’t enough, we were given an amazing sunset on our drive to the airport. It felt a bit like God’s way of saying, “Thanks for coming!”
And last came time to say goodbye. It felt a little rushed. My usual high fives seemed inadequate to express what I felt inside. We made some amazing memories in the last 10 days, and now they are exactly that: memories. The transition from present to past is difficult to accept, but when I think of what lies ahead I realize how much I have to be grateful for.
1.) for the conclusion of an incredible adventure.
2.) for new friends.
3.) that what lies ahead is even more amazing than what I leave behind.
4.) for the opportunity to help tell stories of resilience and hope
5.) for those of you who followed me on this adventure (especially my dad who has faithfully commented on every post =) Thank you all!