I just got back from one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Africa was everything and more I ever could imagine, so colourful, alive and contrasting. We were just under 20 people that turned up outside the UEA LCR entrance just over 2 weeks ago and started the long journey together towards Swaziland. 11 hours of horrific flight time and several hours of coach rides later we made it from Norwich to London, to Johannesburg and into the border of Swazi to Lidwala Lodge close to Mbabane. During the coach ride I was struck with the differences I only had seen and associated with programs on TV. Suddenly I was driving past the slums with shacks built out of nothing more than rubbish, in contrast to the gated communities with massive houses and swimming pools only 10 minutes down the road, or endless fields of mass agricultural development with massive machines in contrast to local farms with a couple of goats and cows working by hand, and it all suddenly felt so real.
The Lodge itself was a perfect start to the trip, with decent showers, toilets and sofas. I think we were all worried what to expect. Us students slept in pairs in tents, set in the foreground of beautiful mountains, between luscious green trees (like avocado tree!!) and flowers next to a calm stream. The lodge provided lovely food and we had some precious dogs to cuddle.