Our October was distinguished by a visit from Washington — no, it wasn’t Biden just yet, but Alex Wilson ticked many boxes too. From the moment he read about us in the Washington Post, Alex was a fan who wanted to become part of our tribe.
With his background in high school teaching, he was a natural fit for Youth Spaces. He met two winning teams and talked to future candidates. His questions were many and his love for Obama on full display! He also had an engaging session with our youngsters in training.
Alex was a courier as well; he came with a Mac for our office and books to learn from. In his three weeks he ended up meeting eight of our guides but his tour was animated by the inimitable Boy David whose superslow driving (“robots are watching!”) and “African massage” roads will make Alex chuckle forever.
“The people here are so kind, resourceful and youthful!” reflected Alex. “Africa is the future and Congo is life! All the risky stuff you hear about becomes insignificant.”
His most unique hours came on the edge of Kahuzi-Biega, on the night before his 70th birthday. With Boy stuck at the border (nobody told him a passport was needed!) we had to hire a taxi, and the driver insisted on getting home before dark. We were forced to leave Alex in front of his cottage, with no English speaker around.
“The man with the key arrived some 30 minutes later, a bit tipsy,” recalled Alex. “But he was a great host and he lit up my fireplace. To be in total isolation was something I had not experienced in years. I was reflecting on my mortality and being in the cradle of humanity.”
In Rwanda we tested our guest with a long bike ride; a motorboat shortcut saved the day.
The best of his Ugandan experiences we covered previously, so let’s end with Alex’s later impressions:
“I’m living my dream! The channel ride was wonderful … so many schools of hippos, elephants, buffaloes! Sunbird Hill was the PERFECT end to my time in rural Africa. Butterflies and birds, top hospitality with lots of laughter and the best peanut soup in the world! This reflective place was the ideal start of my transition back to DC. I’m a little melancholy, but eternally grateful. I will return!”
featured photo of Alex in Bukavu by the author; other images by Alex Wilson and Miha Logar