A Delightful Journey

A Delightful Journey

Sheree dishes on all the Africa adventures.

Hey guys,
I know it's been a little while, but I'm back! So, let's jump right on in and catch up on our trip to South Africa, which was such a life-changing experience!

When the opportunity to travel abroad to South Africa came up, I was instantly on board. My mom and so many others I know who have traveled and/or lived there before have always said how beautiful it is and that it's an absolutely delightful journey. It makes you appreciate the small things we take for granted, and the people are so kind and appreciative of the little they have. So of course I wouldn't think of passing up this wonderful opportunity!

While we waited at the airport for NeNe to arrive, we had no idea that she would be bringing a companion. That was a complete shocker. Upon seeing Marlo, I knew instantly that there would be some drama, because she was not invited by Phaedra, the host. Why was no one informed that she would be coming on the trip? I knew she felt the need to do something to get attention! When we finally arrived at the villa in Cape Town, it was just gorgeous. I decided that because NeNe and I were not speaking, I would break the ice a bit by making the joke that NeNe, Phaedra, and I would stay together. I wanted us all to enjoy Africa and not put the other girls in an awkward position. If we are at least cordial, then things should go more smoothly and everyone could enjoy themselves. We all had a good laugh, but as you saw, that didn't last long!

Prior to leaving for Africa, I informed my friend Kevin that I was going to be in Cape Town for a day. He and his friend arranged an intimate dinner for ten. I told him I would be bringing Phaedra and Kandi, and he was inviting some of his friends. I didn't think to invite Cynthia, because I was sure she wouldn't attend without NeNe, and I certainly wasn't going to invite Nene. We had not spoken since the argument a few months ago and after the disrespectful way she acted at Kim's friend’s house in Miami last year, it just wasn't happening. As we are getting ready for dinner, my friend Kevin calls, who also knows Cynthia and NeNe, and asks me to invite Cynthia to the dinner. Well I did, and we all know what happened next!

Cynthia, Cynthia, Cynthia...messy. I'm not quite sure what the problem was. For Marlo to run over and go from 0 to 60 all because I did not invite her, the person who no one knew was coming (not even the host) and that came with NeNe (the person I don't speak to), to a party! Really?! Why would she want to go? Why would I want her to go? Why is she so angry? Why is she using hateful, derogatory words? Why would she choose to use that word to describe my friends? I'm not a judgmental person by any means. I love all kinds of people, regardless of their sexual preference.

For the record, finding a man has NEVER been my problem. I refuse at this day and time to sell myself short. I like what I like, and I can tell you for certain that sleeping with senior citizens just for bags, shoes, or money definitely isn’t it!
During the dinner with the Talls, Marlo mentions that I should Google her and check her record. Umm, that's not a good thing or even something anyone should be proud of especially under the circumstances. Go figure.

Anyway, the dinner with Kevin and his friends was an absolute breath of fresh air! I loved the drummer, the fire throwers, everyone was super nice with good energy, the house was beautiful, and the food was delicious. They really went out of their way to ensure we had a great time. Thanks again, Kevin!

The next day we head to Shamwari, and boy are we all beat! The property was so beautiful and at any moment you could see a monkey sitting on the roof or some of the other animals just breeze by. It was very peaceful and serene. After that debacle with Marlo, at this point I just wanted to enjoy my surroundings, appreciate the experience, and see what South Africa had to offer.

It was kind of cool that Kandi, Phaedra, and I picked the rooms we wanted. The rooms were really nice. We would stay up talking for hours or watching movies usually in Phaedra's room. I tell you, hanging out with the Smalls is a bunch of laughs! I was super psyched about going on the safari because I love doing things like that, so much so that the Smalls went even when the cameras were not rolling! I have some of the most amazing pictures of the animals from the safari trips. We have a place in GA that's similar to a safari (of course not on the same scale), but the kids and I enjoy going there.

The most touching part of this entire experience was going to the orphanage and the village to give away some much needed goods. Some of the very things we take for granted, the people in the village were so appreciative to receive. At the orphanage the kids were simply wonderful. It was an honor to meet and spend time with them. Such a sad but moving experience. The conditions at the orphanage were far from good, yet the kids and workers still managed to have a smile on their faces. They seemed genuinely upbeat and thankful even for the little things we brought them and for us just coming to spend time with them. This one little girl clung to me immediately when we entered the orphanage. She did not want to let go, nor did she want any other kids to come near me or spend time with me. It was such an emotional experience. It felt so good that all of us ladies were able to come together on this occasion to contribute to the goodwill of the community. I wish we could have done more and dedicated more time, but we were only there for a short period.
The safari ride with Phaedra, Cynthia, and Kandi got really interesting. A lot was said during that conversation as well as during the last dinner! Cynthia made the comment that she didn't see Kim in Africa holding African babies, Kandi (who is friends with Kim) chimed in and agreed with Cynthia and proceeded to say that she didn't see Kim going to an orphanage or even coming to Africa period. Now I stand corrected that Kandi did not make the initial statement about the black baby/African baby, however she agreed with Cynthia. Then said she didn't see her in an orphanage in Africa. Now the whole black baby thing was what seemed to get Kandi in such an uproar. No, she did not say that, however not only did she agree with Cynthia, she implied the same thing when stating that she wouldn't go to an orphanage in Africa. Was it just me or were there ONLY black babies/children there? To me, making those statements and agreeing with Cynthia on that sentiment was basically insulting Kim and implying she could possibly be racist. It seemed to me like she was throwing her friend Kim under the bus. I don't understand why Kandi can't seem to grasp that. Who wants to possibly have to defend their character to millions of people about something someone said, especially if it could possibly be untrue? It's not fun!

After the safari we head to our rooms and call Kim. I chose to mention what was said in the jeep not while Kandi wasn't present but while she sat next to me, because I didn't feel like that was right. If she really felt that way, then she should tell her and allow her to respond. Again, I stand corrected, Kandi did not say the black baby thing. I recanted my statement to Kandi during our discussion once we hung up, but to me there is really no difference in what either of them said. One was just more direct in her statement. I didn't mention Cynthia at the time, because Kim and Cynthia are not friends and she doesn't have that loyalty or bond of trust that I thought friends share. Believe me, if it were the other way around or if it were any of my other close friends and I witnessed someone they think is their friend talking badly about them, I would do the absolute same. And the people that are my real friends would do it for me too! I'm not saying that people are not entitled to their opinions by any means, because as you see, we all have them! Just own it!
Overall, my African experience was simply amazing and very educational. Despite all the drama, chaos, and fights this journey will forever be in my memory. I experienced every emotion one can feel on this excursion. Through the highs, the lows, the ups and downs, when it was time for us to come together as a whole, put our differences aside, and realize that this opportunity wasn't just about us but about helping others that were in need, we stood together strong. It was about doing something good that would make our parents and grandparents proud. We were not able to save the world on our ten day adventure, however we were able to make a difference in a few peoples’ lives, which to me made it all worthwhile. And if the Smalls and Talls never agree on anything else, I think we can all agree that this was a wonderful experience!

Until next time!

Twitter: @IamSheree

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