Tellus: (tel’us), n. 1. [Latin] earth, soil, and the land; a country; the world. 2. a collection of Willamette University student’s insights, stories, photos and thoughts from their experiences studying abroad.

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An Hour or so in Limbo.

There I was, on the border between Zambia and Botswana, with the two best friends I made in South Africa. We had just finished a safari in Botswana and were returning to Livingstone, Zambia where a few days earlier we had seen Victoria Falls. The African sun was beating down on us as we looked at each other wondering what we should do. The problem was that beyond the border we didn’t see our ride back to our hostel. To make matters worse none of us had cell phones that worked outside of South Africa, and we didn’t know the phone number to our hostel. We didn’t really know what to do, but we knew that we didn’t want to go through customs because that would make life even harder. Instead we spent the next hour in limbo; we were technically in neither Zambia nor Botswana. Like seasoned backpackers we calmly walked around the ferry crossing asking people around the boats and trucks for help. Finally we found a guy who worked for the safari company we had just used and he was able to contact the company who in turn contacted the hostel. Now we just had to wait for our ride to come.
It was while waiting that I began to think. How did I end up here? Never in my life did I imagine that I would travel to Zambia and Botswana, and I certainly never thought that I would be stranded on the border between the two countries. So I just sat, took in the beautiful scenery, and reflected on my life and how my life was different since coming to South Africa. I didn’t really feel like I had changed, I felt like I had become a lot more comfortable with who I really am. That comfort led to confidence, and that confidence led me to Zambia with me two best friends. And it led me to the situation I was in, and the funny part was that I was completely relaxed, even when I first realized that we had no way of getting back to Livingstone, and no means of communication, I was fine. For some reason I knew that things would work out. I had confidence in myself that even in the most random of circumstances I could find a way to get out of this mess. Even more important though, I realized that this moment was important. That being abandoned at a border in Africa, however difficult it may have been for a while, was something that I would never forget. So I sat. I watched the ferry boat methodically take semi trucks across the majestic river one at a time. I looked at my two friends and realized how thankful I was to have met them. I stared at the sky and the trees and knew that this place was somewhere I would always long to return. Finally, I looked over at Zambia longingly, because all of this personal reflection in the hot Zambian/Botswanan sun had taken its toll and I was ready to leave.
A few minutes later our ride arrived. We went through customs and returned to Zambia. I said goodbye to our hour of limbo, and though was happy to leave it, I was thankful for all it meant to me.

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