Our mission organization has an all-Africa conference every couple of years. In the past, it's always been held in either Kenya or Tanzania, so this year, it was a very special treat to be held in South Africa.
Since we figured this might be our only chance to visit South Africa as a family, we arrived a couple of days before the conference and stayed a day longer.
This was how we spent a good portion of the conference, which was wonderful and soul-filling.
But we weren't always super spiritual, like when we put Oreos on our foreheads.
The kids got their own program with their own helpers. They had to do homework every day, since this trip happened during school time, but they still had a blast.
Many, many hours were spent right here. The kids also got to go on their own safari.
The hotel where we stayed had its own petting zoo, which included tiger cubs. Which, FYI, are Indian, not African. But hey, who's asking? Still super cool.
The kids insisted we go to McDonalds. Still blech, even in South Africa.
The grown-ups, however, went out for amazing steak. South Africans know their meat. (And wearing sweaters was almost as equally exciting.)
We went to the Lion Park, which is kind of like a zoo and kind of like a safari park. The animals are in large enclosures you can drive through. Yes, we were this close.
Mostly they all looked like this.
Until feeding time, when they became like this.
This was all very thrilling until later we found out that the lions in this park have actually killed a number of visitors who dared to do things like roll down their windows. Yikes.
Look, Mom! No Fences!
We went to an adventure course where my children proved that they are much braver than their mother.
While Gil had fun taking pictures of my misery.
We also visited an amusement park....
....and a gold mine.
But perhaps most meaningful was taking our children to historical sites in South Africa. We had talked about South African history before the trip, and watched some documentaries as well as (edited versions) of "Sarafina" and "Invictus."
We visited Soweto, the site of the youth riots of 1976 (and basis of "Sarafina").
The memorial of Hector Pieterson, a 13-year-old killed by police who became a symbol of the apartheid resistance.
The Mandela home in Soweto
Hoping for a better future for our children in Africa.