Asha was 6 months old and Betty was desperate to see her. She sent us money to buy tickets to New Zealand. We found “around the world tickets” which were the same price as going straight there. We were on a very low budget but we had so many friends all over the world. The plan was to stop and visit them on the way.
The cheapest tickets we could find were with Alitalia. Our first stop was Rome. We stayed with someone who knew someone. They wanted to take us to see the wonders of the city but we chose to potter around the local markets so see how they lived.
The trip was long and we had a few bad flying experiences that led to 5 years of aerophobia for me. As we were taking off from Rome, the plane screeched to a halt on the runway. The airhostess came running to the exit right near me and found that the door wasn’t closed properly. I spent the entire flight worrying about all the other doors.
We met our dear friend Robin Glass and his lovely Brazilian wife Tati in London. We stayed with them for few days. Tony and Robin made lots of music and sang all their old songs from their Doulos days. Our take off from London was amazing; straight up into the air and so smooth. Everyone was smiling and commenting on how good it was when suddenly it was as if we had hit a wall in the sky. The plane dropped and everyone screamed. There was no explanation or apology from the captain and I sat in “stiff position” the whole way to Auckland.
Being with Betty and Tony’s family was amazing. Ben was the one who had prayed for Tony during his hippy, India, searching days. I had heard so much about him and it was nice to finally meet him. Tony’s sister Jan and her husband, Allan had two gorgeous little girls, Hayley and Libby. They loved their new little cousin, Asha. Betty had found life in South Africa and it was so lovely to see how much she had changed.
Betty babysat one night while we went to see the movie “Cry Freedom.” I cried from beginning to end. Watching how black South Africans lived while I was climbing trees and swinging in the park was too much for me. So many husbands and wives were separated from each other. Children lived on farms with their grandparents while their parents tried to make a living in the cities. Kids grew up not knowing their fathers. Husbands found new wives in the cities and no longer felt at home in their villages. I knew it was happening but had never seen a movie on it. I was beside my self by the time we got home. Before I went to bed I wrote some words, which I titled “African Woman.” I imagined her singing something like this to her estranged husband.
Haven’t seen you in a while
And the firelight in your eyes
Can’t melt the coldness I find growing there
It’s been so long and things have changed
No longer do you love the sun
On your naked skin
Or the rough ground under your feet
My fire can’t warm you anymore
You’ve found more and I’m losing you
Things have changed
See the wide eyes in the dark
Small hearts beating strong
Wondering where you’ve been so long
Growing fear it’s been so long
And things have changed
It rained for weeks in Auckland. We didn’t have much money to travel around but we spent lots of time with Tony’s family. There were lots of tears when we left.
Our next stop was California. Some of our Doulos friends had planned a reunion in Lake Arrowhead. Brock Grigsby’s friend gave us the use of their huge house right on the lake. There were twenty of us and we had so much fun. We sat around the fireplace at night and sang old songs and shared memories that made us laugh and cry.
From there we flew to New York and visited Mike and Debbie. There was a lot to catch up on and it was fun hearing about how things had worked out for us all.
Ash was such a good traveller. She slept in suitcases and drawers and wherever else she was put. As long as she was with us, she was happy. When we got home, she had no idea we had been in the sky or circumvented the earth.
* Tony put music to this- also on our Colours album/cassette