I have only a few hours left to savour the African sun. In an hour and a half, the taxi will be here to pick us up.

I wish I could capture this moment. I wish I could paint the memory of this place on the back of my eyelids so I could conjure it up any time I want. I would paint mighty trees with red-brown trunks. I would paint brilliant pink blossoms on luscious green shrubs. I would paint a poinsetta tree leaning over the fence – welcoming me back to my temporary home whenever I’ve been away. I would paint a massive majestic tree covered in soft pink blossoms. I would colour the roof of the guest house with rust-coloured crayons.

I’d capture the sounds too – the cacophony of birds singing their friendly choruses. I would isolate each birdsong and make it unique from the rest, but then blend them all together in a melodious choir.

Somehow, I would add the breeze touching my face and playing tag with the corners of my pages. Then there’d be the sunshine touching the multi-coloured leaves, the sweet sounds of children playing and conversing in another tongue, the shadows of people walking past the hedge, the sounds of faraway dogs guarding their domains.

There have been so many perfect moments on this trip. The gentle people, the magnificent animals, the warm sun, the cool refreshment of a swimming pool, the delightful innocence of babies, the coming together of community, the food that tasted like manna from heaven. I want to take it all home with me.

There goes a gecko running up the trunk of a tree. I’ve grown rather fond of those funny little creatures.

There are four little Finnish children playing in the play structure close to me. Their voices are quite delightful, chattering away in their mother tongue. The one I’ve seen the most of – I think her name is Philipa and she’s here with her parents waiting for the arrival of her baby sister or brother – is about the same age as Maddie. She’s quite chatty, and I’m sure we’d be friends by now if we spoke the same language. She looks at me with a rather puzzled look on her face – not unfriendly or shy, just puzzled. I wonder what she thinks when I open my mouth and speak – when I make silly jumbled noises that sound like language don’t quite make sense.

Soon, I’ll be home with children who know my language and know how to find a comfortable place on my lap.

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