Mother & son travel Africa

Merel Disselkoen Blog 0 Comments

How many nights still?
‘Another 13 crosses to make with my proud marker on the calendar and then we go, Mom!’ I’m watching my son’s left hand carefully drawing a cross with his blue marker at the calendar on the day of today. I can only answer with a big smile when he looks back and searches for my eyes.

I grab my cup of black coffee and lean back as he rushes out through the open patio doors. I look at him and talk aloud to myself: “Do you have any idea how incredibly special it is that we are going to fix this adventure together, boy?” While I’m day dreaming I think of the people we will meet, the school in township Elandsdoorn that we will visit for the Dream Your Future project and the wild animals with which we will be confronted. I hope for a game of soccer with the township youth at the Cruyff Court in Elandsdoorn. Because sport connects, you don’t need to speak the same language.

I’m also looking forward to the evenings under the stars. Our feet dangling over the balustrade of the wooden veranda of our hut in the African bush. Surrounded by burning candles in the warm evening heat we tell each other the most beautiful fantasy stories. Or we just don’t say anything at all and only think about what we’ve  experienced earlier that day. With a busy family life, there is often no possibility at home. But, admittedly, that is a very bad excuse.

Dream Your Future and the proud marker
Last week was the kick-off for Dream Your Future 2018, the
project with which we want children in the Netherlands and Africa to believe in their future dreams. At the school of our children in the small village we live we went for the third consecutive year to work with the same group of students who are now between 7 – 10 years. Where we normally asked the children to draw their ultimate dream of the future, we wanted to bring it more to the present this time. The question became: What makes you happy? Because if you get a feeling of joy in your stomach, you want to put effort into it and put a lot of energy into it too. I believe that this happy feeling is the foundation for reaching your personal goals in life. Now, but certainly later.

Small things; a big happy feeling
Previous years the student draw mainly favorite professions, this year we received drawings that were much more back to basic, to what really makes you happy, now. Very special! Running around in a colored flower field, becoming a brick layer for one day, ‘as good as my father is’ or spotting wild meerkats in real are a few happy moments that have been drawn. On departure, all children were allowed to take home a pen with the color they thought fit the word PRIDE. This became their so-called proud marker. My friend Marijke who is a very talented hand lettering artist (watch her website: MarijkeTekent) made a beautiful drawing for all children in advance with the days of the week. The children could write their personal moment of pride during the following week.

Two proud week calendars of our oldest two children are now hanging in our home, filled with their colored proud marker! I found it very special to read what our children are proud of themselves. Our daughter Tippe, for example, wrote that she was proud to be able to swing backwards on the diving rod at school five times in a row. Blue abrasions on her legs, blisters on her hands, but she had to and would learn, she said to herself. Definitely worth mentioning on her proud weekly calendar!

I am really looking forward to our visit to the township school. Because there too we will ask the same group of students as the previous years what makes the happy and they also will choose a colored proud marker with which they can fill in their weekly calendar. I am very curious about what they get a warm and happy feeling in their stomach of. Watch here the short video of my last year visit hen my eight year old daughter joined me.

Safari in luxury style
A few hours drive away by rental car is our next stay in the beautiful Madikwe Nature Reserve, close to the Botswana border. As you know I have switched my company lately to the import and sale of exclusive African interior decorations. Now, many new possibilities are coming my way. For example, Talisman Travel Design provides us with accommodation in two breathtaking Safari Lodges in Madikwe Game Reserve and Welgevonden nature reserve in May.

Both Madikwe Lelapa Lodge and Mhondoro Safari Lodge are a
treat for the eye through the detailed interior and beautiful Ethnic chic decorations. I am coming in contact with more and more interior designers from South Africa who have decorated the most amazing Safari Lodges in Africa. This gives me the opportunity to gain new ideas and to understand why certain objects have been chosen within a Safari lodge interior. The contacts with the artisans are also very important.
My camera will work overtime during our stay. In addition to treasure hunting new items during this trip (I prefer to run into it, tough) This is an excellent opportunity to shoot beautiful images for the site and social media (be prepared … :-)).

Impact
Poor, rich, little, many, white, black. They are all facets that we are going to see this coming trip. After more than 30 journeys to and through (Southern) Africa, I still find the political discussions difficult. But the continent and African people have to offer so much beauty, in all variations! My son was almost four years old during his first Africa trip with us in 2014. Now he is seven and, according to some, still too young. Too young for what? In my view you are never too young to travel and certainly not to learn what the world has to offer. And more importantly: to learn what you yourself can offer the world. Bruun certainly has something to offer. Even if it is only his beautiful smile and curious gaze with which he lets the people he meets shine.

Let me know in a message below what really makes you happy. You can read my joyful moment of happiness here.

Give a smile as a present.

“Because, hey,
What makes you happy? “

Love,

Merel

Ps. Would you like to follow our adventure on social media? Check my Instagram or FaceBook page.

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