The Sounds of Africa

What do the sounds of Africa have to do with hearing conservation? Honestly, not a whole lot except to remind you to protect your hearing, so you can hear! Perhaps this article is more of a reflection and appreciation of being able to hear and enjoy sounds on my recent adventure in Africa.

The goal of the trip was to climb Kilimanjaro. Unfortunately, this goal did not become reality but as they say, if one door closes, another will open.

But before we go through that door…

While on the mountain, you have the opportunity to allow your sense of hearing to come alive. From listening to the birds and monkies moving through the trees to the chatter of conversation between your new friends. There are periods of reflective silence as you concentrate on every footstep you take in front of you while simultaneously hearing your labored breath. I remember the specific sound of crunching while walking over lava and shale rocks. And yes, they do make different sounds! The sound of rain as it hits your jacket to the wind blowing through your tent at night.

Perhaps, more importantly, were the sounds made and heard while engaging with our team. In our case, the “Dream Team”! There were plenty of laughs, groans, words of encouragement, and tears of joy and disappointment. There were rally songs sung in an unfamiliar language but were understood, nonetheless.

So about that door…

After coming off of the mountain, my husband and I had the opportunity to spend some time with one of our guides. He went above and beyond to take care of us. One of the days, he took us on a safari. Talk about sounds! I can say I have never heard a lion tear into a zebra nor heard animals grazing on grass from arm’s length.

But perhaps my favorite sound of this entire adventure was connecting with and listening to our new friend sing and dance to songs being requested from my music library on my cell phone. I don’t think I will ever be able to listen to Human Nature by Michael Jackson nor Africa by Toto the same way again. Yes, that’s right…who can say they have ever blasted Africa from a safari jeep through the streets of Tanzania?!

As I think back on my experience, it is easy to become overwhelmed with emotions. I was fortunate to meet some fantastic people from all over the world. I am grateful to all of our crew from Ian Taylor Trekking for making this adventure possible. You left me with memories that will stay with me forever. I don’t think Toto could have said it any better…, “I bless the rains down in Africa”…