After an adventure-filled two weeks, it was time for Ryan and Eric’s Most Excellent Trip to Africa to end. Today they would start the journey back to the states. Their flight from Cape Town to Jo’burg was at noon, and then they’d connect to evening overnight flights to the states.
We had just enough time for breakfast and who better to spend it with than more Ndibongos! Ginny, the matriarch of the Ndibongo clan, and Inga, another one of the beautiful sisters, joined us. Ginny is Swedish and met Mr. Ndibongo when they were both students at Michigan State University. They lived in various spots throughout Africa, and settled in the Ndibongo homeland, Transkei, during the apartheid years. When the educational opportunities became limited for their children, they moved back to East Lansing. Hence, the younger generation are all East Lansing High School graduates — just like Ryan and Eric (albeit 10-20 years later!). (Later, the parents moved back to South Africa as apartheid was being dismantled where, tragically, Mr. Ndibongo was assassinated due to continued anti-apartheid political activity.)
Ginny is one of the most remarkable women I know. She’s raised something like 15 children (including her five biological children) and would probably be the first one to say that mothering doesn’t end at 18. Ginny and two of her daughters — Lulama (who splits her time between East Lansing and Cape Town) and Inga — share a residence at one of those city-center all-in-one places (where stores, services, and homes are all integrated in the same region so no transportation is needed). Inga works in PR and is a logistical/organizational whiz. As the baby of the family, she had us believing for a long time that the alpha twins (Lu and Neli) had her running around waiting on them hand and foot. We’re all kind of on to her now and believe that she really is the brains and shadow chief behind the whole clan. (And, btw, Inga is total marriage material and it is my current goal to find her a wonderful husband. If you know of anyone just let me know…)
Anyways, we all met at Miss K’s, just down the street from our hotel. St. Inga (have I mentioned, all of the sisters are saints?) volunteered to take the guys to the airport for us, then come back and get us to take us to our next destination, which was an agricultural economics conference co-hosted by Lulama’s department at Stellenbosch University. That’s a lot of driving at something like $8/gallon for gas. (Thanks Inga!)
Eric enjoyed one last glass of “the best ever orange juice” (fresh squeezed with South African oranges of course).
Thinking about his long trip home, Ryan was missing us already (with fresh carrot juice).
Thom was getting more parenting advice from Ginny.
We ordered cappuccinos and look what they brought us!
Their reaction to Eric telling them he went on a whitewater rafting trip without knowing how to swim — Ginny’s thinking, boys will be boys, and Inga’s thinking, you need a brain scan dude!
Thanks sons for a wonderful two weeks! (Have I mentioned we’re officially adopting Eric?)
Inga took the boys to the airport, stayed until their luggage was checked and their boarding passes were in hand, and then came back and got us. Our next stop and home for two days — the Lord Charles Hotel.