My new, sunless village

21:45, Jan 27 2013

Dearest Love in a Hot Climate readers: How time has flown!

I've spent the past six weeks bunkered down in London (literally bunkered down for much of the time - the Al Jazeera newsroom is in the basement of a Hyde Park Corner building...).

All of you, meanwhile, have been enjoying the sunshine. Spending lazy weekends at the beach, drinking delicious New Zealand red wine, telling the world wide web about how tough it is to be sunburnt AGAIN. Yes, I've found yet another reason to avoid Facebook, Twitter and the like. I swear I don't remember the last time I felt real-life sun on my face. I can see now why Londoners are so depressed during winter - they're all vitamin D deficient.

Anywho, to the point. This is to be my last post!

After an incredible adventure through Tanzania, Kenya, Mali and Niger, I've decided to settle down and call London home (for the time being at least).

It's funny now, when people ask me what it was like living in Africa. I can tell they're expecting an instant "oh, it was wooooonderful!" And in a lot of ways it was. But for all of you who've been following the blog, you'll know it's not all safaris and playtime at the orphanage.


Village life, in the truest sense, is tough. It's dirty and dusty and exhausting. But it's equally raw and beautiful.

They say Africa gets under your skin, and though I never thought that would be true for me, it really does, and has.

I find myself missing the place! The beans and rice, the fascination from strangers ... even waking up to the sound of Rasta the compound manager boiling his breakfast outside my window.

MH had this joke that he'd make most days, on the drive from our house to the village. "Babati has really turned it on today," he'd say and smile. Which was funny, only because EVERY DAY was beautifully hot, and light.

I would encourage all of you to visit the continent if you ever get the chance. Or to take the risk you've always dreamed of taking. Write that novel, quit that job, move to that country, tell that person how much you fancy them.

I listened to a speaker a few weekends ago, who said something that stuck. "Our lives are defined by our relationship with fear," he said.

For me, Africa was a big, scary unknown. But I wouldn't have changed it for the world.

Until next time!