South Africa was the host country for the always anticipated SAS¬†Parent Trip, when parents join the MV Explorer and re-connect with their children after nearly 10 weeks apart. In Cape Town, parents lined up along the port entrance to not so much as see the ship but to see their children who peered down at them from the seventh deck. The reunions, as expected, were filled with hugs and joyful tears.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm so glad that I came. It‚Äôs so wonderful to see her and to see how she‚Äôs changed and grown so much already,‚Äù Lori Niskanen said of her daughter, Ana Alanis, a gap year student who will be attending UC Berkeley in January.
The parents and students traveled to the Phinda Wildlife Reserve, in northeastern South Africa, where they spent three days and two nights touring around the wildlife reserve, learning the history of the area and viewing the big five animals: lions, elephants, water buffalo, black rhinos and leopards. The most fun however was visiting with their children and hearing about all of their adventures in the previous countries that they had traveled to during the voyage.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs nice to share even a small piece of my experience and journey with my dad,‚Äù said Brent Burrows, whose father, Brent Burrows Sr., traveled 20 hours from their home in the Bahamas (and his first time out of North America) to see his son.
Parents also connected with one another on the ship, during a parent reception. There, SAS parent leaders, Cheryl and Jay Dart, greeted them and told them the moving story of how their son, Justin, was changed by his experience on the Spring 2012 voyage and how he returned home to start helping others who he‚Äôd met in Ghana and South Africa during his voyage.
‚ÄúIt stays with you,‚Äù Jay Dart (F ‚Äô78) said of the SAS experience. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs always with you.‚Äù