Back in the middle of October, we were going to experience something quite extraordinary, me, and the rest of the class were going to visit completely new countries, learn about new cultures and last but not least visit a new world-continent.
During the last couple of days before I was about to leave Norway, the days were filled with thoughts and nerves. I asked my self, questions like: “Is the trip going to be fun?” “will I get ill during the stay?” Even though I had a lot of thoughts during the last couple of days, and the fact that I were really nervous, I was still looking really much forward to be leaving Norway.
I packed my luggage, and I brought more clothes then the rest of the class by far, because I thought I was going to need a lot of luggage in order to survive in Africa, but that was not the case at all. In my suitcase I brought everything you could think of. Mosquito-netting, a lot of medicine, and even some Norwegian snacks ( I was not aware that the Zimbabwian snacks were going to be so tasty). Of course my mother helped me, if I was to pack my luggage my self, Id reckon it wouldn´t work out.
After a day of preparing my self, physically, spiritually and mentally I felt like I was finally prepared for an adventure out of this world.
The day we leaved were probably the most boring one, not because I felt like the trip were going to be boring, but the main reason the trip were so freaking boring, was the fact that it took almost a full day (24hours) to get to the first destination: “Johannesburg “ in South-Africa. And not only were the trip long, I was also on some really tough medicine (Malaria-medicine) the Malaria-medicine had some crazy side effects. To the annoyance of everybody involved (me and Øyvind) I had to go the toilet like 10 freaking times during the 14-hour flight. Not only were I really tired because I am never able to be sleeping on planes, but I also had to go the toilet all the freaking time because of the really powerful medicine.
Once we arrived in Johannesburg the first thing that struck us was the fact that the time zone was the same as it was at home. We are on the other side of the world and the time zone is the same? We really couldn´t believe it at first, but after a while we got used to it.
The second thing we noticed in Africa was all the attention we suddenly got. Back In Norway we really aren´t anything special, because we live in a pretty multicultural country, in which most people are white. But once we arrived in South Africa and Zimbabwe the situation was turned on the tables. We were suddenly getting a lot of attention, and most people also treated us really well, which in my personal opinion is first and foremost because we are white people. Something which you don’t see too often in South-Africa and Zimbabwe, and especially in Zimbabwe it is not a daily occur at all. A guy we met at the football stadium in Harare, told me and my friends we were the first white people he has ever seen in all his life. And only from the few hundred meters we walked, there were probably over a hundred people wanted to take pictures with us, something, which became really irritating after a while. We just wanted to get to the other side of the pitch, but the task was really hard indeed, considering the situation.
One of the most positive things about Zimbabwe and South-Africa must be the people. Even though some people were pestering, most of them were treating us really well, they also had good English-skills, and were really out-going. Holding proper conversations with the people living there were really easy. You didn´t even had to start the conversation, the locals say hey anyway, therefore its advised to be prepared for a lot of talking, if you ever plan on travelling to these countries.
The food was also pretty good, and my personal favorite has to be Sadza with Beef-stew, it tastes really good, and are also most of the time pretty cheap, even at restaurants.
You could most of the time get a pretty good sadza-meal for a couple bucks, and I can assure you its good.
I´d also recommend doing rafting, bungee-jumping, going to the Safari and other activities in Vic Falls, Zimbabwe. If you really want to experience the ultimate Zimbabwian adventure.
The trip was a great experience overall. We learned a lot about the Zimbabwian culture, the Zimbabwian corrupt policy, and the way money works as well. It was impossible to withdraw money because of the political situation in the country, and it led to many challenges, mainly because many places didn’t take card. And many of us, me included, didn’t bring enough cash, causing us to lend money by our teacher Vegard, who was fortunately smart enough to bring enough cash. We also learned quite a lot about budget, and how to spend our money. What are we going to spend it on? How much should I bring? Etc. We also learned a lot about ourselves, what triggers us? What makes us happy? How do we adapt to both the culture and the attention we get? Do we like it or not?.
Last but not least, we learned to see the world from new perspectives, we learn to appreciate the personal situation we are in, due to the low life-standard of many Africans. In short term, we learn to appreciate the little things in life, such as food on the table, a roof over our head while we sleep, and last but not least, we are living in a country with great economy, and an overall safe environment.