I don’t know if you remember the story of how I found my way to you and Pat and your wonderful herd of horses. I had just got back from Guatemala and was already sniffing around for my next adventure. When I returned there was a book waiting for me from Amazon. I had no idea who sent it and since I only order kindle books I knew I didn’t do it. I tossed it on my desk and checked my email. G Adventures’ (a travel company) newsletter had arrived and was spotlighting Mozambique. Hmmm, I had heard of it but knew nothing about it but I sure loved the pictures of their beaches! So I googled “Mozambique” and the very first thing that came up was “Mozambique Horse Safari“, the volunteer page. Horses? Beaches? Volunteer? !!! I noticed on the sidebar a blurb about the owner Mandy’s new book. The name of the book was “One Hundred and Four Horses, a memoir of farm and family, Africa and exile”. Hmmm that sounded familiar… I looked over at the book I had just received, and yes, it was the very same book!
After calling everyone I thought may have sent it and coming up empty, I was baffled. How/who sent me this book. I had not even heard of these people before and suddenly it felt like they were every where! What else could I do but submit to the universe and promptly emailed Mandy to start the process of meeting them all in person. A year and a half later I was greeted by her at the airport in Vilanculos, Mozambique and proceeded to spend 3 amazing weeks with the Retzlaffs and their horses, some of whom I read about in the book.
But the story, while pretty darn entertaining thus far, did not end there.
Three months after I returned, I had coffee with my good friend Lori, whom I hadn’t seen in two years so we had a lot to catch up on. She knew I had been to Mozambique and wanted to hear all about it so, of course, I had to recount the story of how I ended up there. You should have seen the look on her face when I told her about receiving the book and never finding out who sent it! Seems she was the little elf that did… her and her partner, who had heard an interview with Mandy on CBC on Dec. 13/14. Silvia was so moved by Mandy’s story that she went home and announced that she just had to buy that book for someone, anyone and she thought the perfect person would be me. Lori agreed and they ordered it on the spot. With no card, no sign of who sent it. And since we weren’t in the habit of sending each other gifts it never occurred to me to call and ask them.
Pretty amazing, eh, Mandy? Do you remember the interview? I just finished listening to it, and it was so nice to hear your voice again. I just wanted you to know the end of the story. But it really isn’t the end since you have a friend in me for life, for what it’s worth.
Thank you Mandy for giving me such an amazing adventure and for all the work you and Pat do to take care of the herd.
If you haven’t read Mandy’s book, 104 Horses, I urge you to go read it immediately. It is a moving and enlightening tale of guts and honour under
horrific circumstances. Doing the right thing must have been daunting beyond measure for them then, and still is.
If you love horses, do yourself a favour, go to the Mozambique Horse Safari, either as a guest or a volunteer, it will be such a gift!
You can listen to the CBC interview here, The Current with Anna Maria Tremonte.