Monday, September 5, 2011

South Africa - Discovery Expedition

It has been almost a month since I last blogged! I must say, the break was so good, I long for it again... Anyway, things are now better and more human than the first six months. We actually plan our schedule and we can get to bed at a decent time. Even though it is better, the stress of finding a job and client presentations for ICPs take on a different dynamic. More on that later!

South Africa... where should I start? It was a fantastic experience. I was in a group of four: Pasha, Michael,  Kingshuk and I. We spent our time working with a company that makes accessories for 4x4 vehicles. You know the documentary with Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman in Long Way Around and Long Way Down? This company outfitted the support team which made their expedition possible. In addition, they outfit modern day explorers like Kingsley Holgate that brings mosquito nets, reading glasses, you name it, to different parts of Africa. The company is FullOutput and their leading brand is AfricanOutback Products. Adolf the entrepreneur is an absolute amazing guy that came from Germany more than 40 years ago. Working with this company was just great, Adolf was inspirational and spent a lot of time with us, even bringing us to a Rhino and Lion park as well as the Cradle of Human Kind.

The factory workers and his staff were absolutely great and very hospitable. They would chat with us and tell us their life stories without hesitation. We were also fed like we were eating our last meal when we were there. Homemade meals and all! I must say, the challenges of high youth unemployment, lack of high skilled workers and spillover from the apartheid regime makes it a complex system to operate in, and especially to grow and sustain a business for the long term. We learned a tremendous lot and I would say a truly amazing experience.

The rest of the trip was spent at a Pilanesberg National Park, where we did safari hikes and tours. It was stunning and it is safe to say that I will definitely be returning with Alison. No more zoos... ever.

Front: Pasha,  Back from left: Kingshuk, Michael (in our daily van ride)

Kingshuk ready for safari

demonstrating the ostrich wing!

Pasha and I just chilling in a vehicle

Being fed... constantly

Michael is just a workaholic! Well and a sweet-aholic

dried worms anyone? (it was crunchy and salty...)

Tribal dance

At the cradle of human kind

just after a good meal of steak

brothers rubbing horns

protecting the herd!

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