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This morning I made coconut almond granola so the house smells amazing. My mom always made granola when we were kids so it never feels daunting or weird to make it myself.

In late 1993, at the end of our time in Namibia, I made a big batch of granola to take with us on the driving trip we’d planned for the holidays before we flew back to the states. We’d planned to visit Zimbabwe and Botswana but started the trip by taking two of our favorite students, Lucas and Jackson, to see the ocean at Swakopmund. Lucas had never been out of Owamboland—the area that borders Angola in the north of Namibia—and had never seen the sea.

“Sir,” he asked Greg when we first arrived at the shore. “Why is the ocean grey?”

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Jackson was a couple of years older than Lucas and much more sophisticated. He’d grown up in Kenya, where his Namibian father lived in exile during the war. They returned to Namibia after independence in 1990. Jackson was tall and lanky and spoke perfect English, thanks to his Kenyan upbringing.

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Lucas’s language skills weren’t as well-developed because he’d just started learning English the year before when the Namibian government decided that it should be the language of instruction instead of Afrikaans. At the end of our time together, Lucas listed his favorite events from our trip.

20-Lucas Top Ten

A few years after we left Namibia, Lucas wrote to say that Jackson had been killed in a car accident. I still have the letters that Jackson wrote to me after we went home. He wrote long articulate letters in beautiful script describing his struggles to further his education and support his family. He signed some of them “I care, Jackson.”

After we left Lucas and Jackson, Greg and I drove through the Caprivi strip into Zimbabwe and spent our first anniversary at Victoria Falls, both sick as dogs from (foolishly) drinking unboiled water while visiting a former student at the Bushman Resettlement Project the day before.

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A few days later we visited the Great Zimbabwe Ruins and camped inside the park.

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Gangs of vervet monkeys roamed the campground and we were warned to keep a tidy camp lest they make off with our things. Vervet monkeys are both cute and clever.

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And the males sport gigantic powder-blue testicles and bright red penises.

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Our first morning at the Great Zimbabwe campsite, I arranged breakfast on the picnic table while Greg used the restroom nearby. As I set out the little metal cups filled with homemade granola, I noticed, from the corner of my eye, that I’d left the tent open so I left the table to zip up the tent. I turned back in time to watch a band of monkeys run away from the table, carrying our little metals cups and the last of my homemade granola with them.

Offering: a bag of fresh homemade granola just for you

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