I’ll just jump into this. It’s June 10 this morning [1:15A] and I am editing photos, trying to recap on a two month escapade that started with a first time cruise trip on April 6th. Between the time of booking that cruise and actually leaving for it, I was presented with an opportunity to go to Africa to photograph a diving school by way of a friend I’d met traveling in France more than a year prior. There we were, sailing away from the coast and as I looked back, I found myself thinking how crazy it would be that once we landed 7 days later back home in Texas, I’d be packing my bags to go to Africa the following day.
As we settled into our first of many beers, I mentioned to my friends what I had been thinking, “Damn guys, it’s crazy that we land back home Saturday night at 4 and then I board a plane for South Africa Sunday at 8.” They all looked at each other, and then looked at me. “Maigen, we don’t dock at 4 on Saturday, we dock at 8A on Sunday”… Silence for a moment. Well you only live once, right?! That’s what I get for going full throttle all the time with a life motto of “I”m in, tell me the details later!” And that’s how it happened. We docked at 8A, and as soon as I got on land, I was speeding off to home so I could at least do laundry and pack for 3 weeks leaving that same night.
When I got to Africa, I was met by my friend Clint and three of his awesome friends from the diving school, Seko, Rufus, and Zayne. I had no idea that for the next 3 weeks I’d be “one of the boys”, sleeping outside with nothing but a jacket, drinking beer that was kept cold in the river, taking a 9 hour road trip in a car that bottomed out at the sign of any bump [RUFUS!]bags strapped to the top of the car, and learning how to play rugby on the beach.
The part that I was the most excited about that improv camp night, was getting this, my favorite shot. I miss it so much.
Towards the end of my time there, we made our way out to Zayne and Rufus’s families and their farms, you know on that 9 hour road trip! As soon as I walked into our first stop, Zayne’s house, I was sized up by Zayne’s dad who said, “Come with me”. Intimidated as hell, I followed as he wound through the house to end up outside and through another door; opening up to the most amazing mancave on the planet. Leon disappeared behind the bar and surfaced with a foggy glass bottle and then prompted me with a question that only being raised on a farm could prepare you for, “Have you ever been dewormed?” – Unsure at how to respond, I said no but that I knew how to do it. Then I started thinking this might get intense. He told me I had to be cleansed and slid the bottle my way. Keeping my eye on him, I took a big drink from the mouthpiece and swallowed. Then I took another. That seemed to have done the trick and I passed the test of a wine and moonshine mixture that later ended in the most fun drinking games and the most delicious sandwiches I’ve ever eaten, complete with chutney!
Later in the night, Leon went on to tell me about his experiences running for office in the local area and how he had saved the mud splattered advertisements he had made that were disheveled by the segregation that the country has been experiencing as of late. I just didn’t want to leave this family’s presence. They were so amazing to talk to and learn from and Zayne’s mom was such a great cook.