The wilderness was truly a transformational experience. Not only did I have the opportunity to get to know people of another culture so closely, but I also learned a lot about myself and grew as an individual. Finally, I got the opportunity to see a new landscape and connect with patachamama ( Mother Earth).
The South Africans taught me so much about community and collective. The way that they were able to meet each other and then become close friends right away shines light on the collective nature of their people. This idea of community came up a lot in the individual conversations I had with some of them around the way in which they were raised and interacted with their extended family. It made me reflect on what community means to me and how in our culture community is more based on hobbies and interests than culture itself, though of course there are cultural communities as well.
I was also blown away by their singing. I had the honor of sitting with them a lot of the times while they sang and the opportunity to ask them questions about what the songs mean. While they explained to me that they sing in happy and sad occasions, I also learned that their songs are basically about nonsense. A fact I find really funny. Through the harmonies sound beautiful they were often singing made up lines, which brought humor to the situation. Their singing truly saved me on the very hot day where we were stuck in the middle of the wilderness under tarps. Unfortunately, I got a bit of heat sickness, but focusing on their singing and joining in a little, helped me calm down and not focus on my nausea. The singling truly comes from the depths of their soul and I felt it in my heart and will never forget it. I feel blessed to have been a witness to their beautiful harmonies.
Throughout our experience in the wilderness I also learned a lot about myself and received messages and signs from the land, signifying that I am on the right path. I do have to admit however, that I felt very alone out there as many others did not enjoy the nature aspect of the trip as much as I did. I found myself missing my parenter at times as I know that she would have loved and appreciated every moment of the experience. Also, The heat definitely added an element to our experience, but I tried to look at the positives in the situation. It left us with more down and chilling time where we had the opportunity to sit, chat and bond with the South Africans. Overall, the experiences in the wilderness is something I am so appreciative of and know I will never forget.