As the journey is beginning to end, I find myself looking back on the last 14 months often. Did we actually manage to cross Africa? Was it really as simple as it sometimes felt? How have I changed? Have I changed? What is life going to be like now?
We spent our last month in Israel volunteering in a guesthouse in Nazareth. It was fun and the owners are fantastic people but it was also hard work and often longer hours than we anticipated. Typically our days were filled with cleaning and preparing rooms for guests, helping with breakfast, packing and delivering ice, doing renovations around the guest house and updating online portals. We did have some time to ourselves as well though and whilst in Nazareth we managed to source the majority of the Middle Eastern props that we need for the fictional story. We also decided that we are going to attempt shooting some of the story by making use of green screen in order for the to look more authentic. We were able to find many suitable locations and shot the majority of the clean plates that we need. The remaining two clean plates we will attempt to shoot in Cairo next week.
We left Nazareth on the 31st of May and headed to Jerusalem. I have family that live there. It has been absolutely fantastic spending time with them over the last few months so we decided to have a last few days together. We headed to Jerusalem on a Tuesday and deposited our luggage (which is now WAY too much and too heavy) at my cousins apartment and headed off to Ramallah for two nights. Whilst we were there we met up with our host from Jordan, who is visiting Israel / Palestine and he took us with to see the premiere of a Palestinian film and we were also able to visit Hebron, which is often the focal point of conflict between Israel and Palestine. It was a very interesting experience to see places that I often see in news broadcasts. On the Thursday we headed back to Jerusalem and had a very nice time with family until we left for Sinai on Sunday afternoon.
We will be in Sinai until next week before we head to Cairo and fly back to South Africa after a few days on the 19th of June. Crossing from Israel to Sinai was our final land border crossing and while we were not expecting trouble one never knows when crossing in and out of Israel. We have heard so many stories of people having trouble getting into Israel and leaving Israel. In some cases people have been questioned for 2-6 hours when trying to leave to country. However, we have had no problems with the Israelis until now and our last crossing was no different. It took us approximately 10 minutes to leave Israel. We are convinced that we have a special Israeli angel that goes before us to the Israeli borders.
That being said Egypt was our nemesis in December and it seems that it may continue to be the case. Security is pretty tight in Sinai due to the current situation and our luggage was thoroughly searched when we crossed from Israel. The long and the short of the exercise was that Jeff’s quadcopter, which he had disassembled and was basically loose parts packed in ziploc bags, was destroyed by security. They broke the individual pieces by hammering them with a piece of metal plumbing.
Strangely I mostly found this amusing. When we left on the trip I knew the quadcopter could potentially be a problem and I thought I would be sad to see it destroyed as it is an expensive piece of equipment, but I wasn’t. I realised how less attached I have become to “things”. I always thought I managed to live lightly, not having too much stuff and not becoming tied down by excessive possessions, but on this trip I realised just how attached I still am to earthly possessions. It has been a journey for me to detach myself from stuff and be satisfied with God, knowing that he will provide my needs. I don’t need things. So sitting at the border watching the quadcopter being smashed I was secretly quite pleased with myself that it did not upset me. I wasn’t feeling stressed about the money, that it was an expensive thing being smashed for no real reason, I wasn’t angry, I didn’t feel wronged. I just accepted it and felt happy that the quadcopter was actually able to escape up until this point. It is actually a relief having the extra space in our over stuffed backpacks!
I can’t believe we are flying back to South Africa in less than 10 days time. It is a little bitter sweet. I have enjoyed this journey so much and learnt and grown so much, I’m not sure if I am ready to go back yet but it is also exciting to know that I will see family and friends. And of course there is still work to be done. We will hit the ground running in Cape Town, hopefully setting up meetings with actors and other potential partners who could be involved in the filming of the short story. We are hoping that we can complete the short in 6-8 weeks in Cape Town and then we can get down to the rest of the editing of the final film. Much of the footwork, scene plans, catalogs and transitions have already been done in the last few months so it will hopefully just be pulling it all together.
We would like to thank all our friends, family and supporters who have supported, prayed for and encouraged us over the last 14 months. We are so grateful for every person. Please continue to pray for us and follow our progress in the next few months as we strive to complete this project. If anyone wants more information or wants to chat, feel free to drop us an email.
One last horray for the quadcopter: