Welcome To My African Adventure

On Monday, June 26th, I’m turning the tables on my Born To Talk  radio show that can be heard and seen on LA Talk Live  starting at 1:00 PT.  My good friend from South Africa and former guest, chef Melissa Mayo will be in the studio with me. This time instead of featuring her, she will be featuring me.

We will be talking a little bit about my personal life and how I ended up as a radio talk show host.

However, the focus of the show will be about my experiences during my 21-day trip to Africa.

I have had the extraordinary good fortune to travel around the world these past 7 years, as a guest with my good friend Shelley Wells.  Shelley is the program coordinator for the highly respected Executive MBA program at Loyola Marymount University located in what is now known as Silicon Beach, here in Los Angeles, just a few blocks from my home.

Included in this rigorous 20-month program is an international trip. This year the students were studying the wine industry.  Once they returned home; working in teams, they incorporated their findings into a business plan that they presented in a mock investment pitch as part of their final projects before graduation.

We visited South Africa, Botswana and when Shelley was off the clock, we went on to Zimbabwe.  Why not, when you’re that far from home!

I haven’t been anywhere that has captured my heart the way this trip did. You might be wondering what was it that made this trip so exceptional.  Many things played a part. A tip of the hat to my former guests Stella and Robin Mountain owners of Ntaba African Safaris, for coordinating our leisure time and their guide Des Blackhurst.

The natural beauty is breathtaking. The local history including the life of Nelson Mandela at his Apartheid Museum is riveting, emotional and inspiring.

The nature including all the animals, from the smallest insects to the rhinos and elephants and everything in between is indescribable.

        The game drives are not like going to Disneyland.  This is the real deal. Including when we saw the “kill” of a wildebeest by two very hungry female lions at dusk.  When we returned early the next morning the pride was feasting, including the cubs and the male lion.

The powerful Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side are spectacular. You can hear them from a distance and you can see the spray in the air.

Overwhelming for me were the people I met along this journey. Here are a few of those stories.

Jill Heyes, founder of The Original Tea Bag Designs has made an enormous impact on the lives of women and men in Hout Bay near the point of the Cape of Good Hope. I can’t possibly cover all that I want to say about Jill. I admire what she has done for her community. You can read more about her in her link. I hope to have a remote show with her in the future.

Here I am with Shelley and Jill in the store and location where the women and men do their painting on tea bag paper. It’s incredible. If you are a tea drinker, remove the tea when you’re done, then let the bag air dry. Then think about sending the brown paper to Jill, they will turn them into art.

We went to an informal township in Sowetto, located in Johannesburg, South Africa. We were greeted by our host, Thulani Madondo, co-founder and Executive Director of the Kliptown Youth Program.   To say this was emotional is an understatement. While their living conditions may be something you might not imagine for yourself or your families, make no mistake they are not to be pitied.  It was the single most powerful message I received. We were told to leave that emotion at the gates before we entered.

Once inside, it was obvious because we were surrounded by children of all ages enjoying their lives. Running, singing, dancing and being joyful. We had a great dance program presented to us.  Gumboots and hands were their instruments along with their voices. If you have seen the live performance of Stomp, then you can imagine what we saw.

My new family of LMU students!

We went to the Bahurutshe Cultural Village in Gaborone, Botswana. Here we learned about the Setswana culture and customs of marriage from the point of the view of the bride and groom and their families. I made another new friend, her name is Mmankudu Glickman. She is the founder of this village and has a very interesting background. She’s the 2nd lady from the right.

We also went to the home of the U.S. Ambassador to Botswana, Earl Miller. He happens to be from Flint Michigan. Since our trip coincided with March Madness, we had a great conversation about basketball. Why not, I was Born To Talk.  

Did I mention I took 1,500 digital photos between my two cameras? How about how long it takes to get to Africa. There’s no easy way to get there, it takes a very long time.

Then if you ask any of the students what they would say about me, “There she goes again, taking pictures of people wearing Chucks.” 

I couldn’t help myself.  In Turkey and Greece, I couldn’t stop taking photos of the cats and dogs. What can I say? I enjoyed every moment from the food to the people. From the birds and bees, and the flowers and the trees and the moon up above.

It’s all there waiting to be discovered. Put Africa on your bucket list.

And in a blink of an eye, the trip comes to an end!

If you have any questions check out the links on this post or send me an email. I’m easy to reach. Marsha@MarshaWietecha.com

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