Expedition Africa 2019 The Rodriguean expedition that was. Final thoughts. ‘We love yoooouuuuu!!!!!!!’ Not a bad departing message from the Chief Commissioner of Rodrigues Island. He nailed it when he spoke at the final celebrations on Saturday night; ‘Everybody has been living to the rhythm of Expedition Africa.’ Not just the teams and the wider crews involved, but the people of Rodrigues too. Just a fortnight ago, the hum of this expedition race began to sound. A few days later the passion, spirit and energy was dialed up to full noise; nearly 250 people tearing off down Mourouk Beach to hop in their sail boats and head off for a few days of superb adventuring. For an entire week this little humble island in the middle of the Indian Ocean was the home of teams, families and volunteers from all over the globe, gathering together to live the sport which celebrates life, embraces challenges, strips egos, and forces everyone to become simply better. Prior to this time, the term ‘Expedition Africa’ would have merely been an arbitrary concept to many who call Rodrigues home. They knew there was some physical activity involved, they knew we would be filling their hotels, guest houses and restaurants, as well as using their modes of transport. They probably knew it was going to be noisy, and busy. But what is impossible to grasp before seeing it through one’s own eyes, is the magnitude and passion those within the Adventure Racing community hold for this sport. Heidi and Stephan Muller change lives, they change the physiology of the blood that pumps through the veins and hearts of those who race, those who work behind the scenes, those families and support crews who also put their lives on hold follow and support. This year Expedition Africa was granted the permission to share its journey with a community where shop keepers open business doors when they feel like it, dogs roam the streets day and night, colour is everywhere; from prison walls to bus stops to cemeteries. The people of Rodrigues embraced all of us and what we were there for. The small community, in which tourism is quite foreign, let us in, metaphorically allowing us to sit in their lounge room with our feet on the table. They would stop us in the street and ask how the race was going, they would greet us with giant warm smiles everywhere we went. At the roadside stalls where we’d buy barbecued meat, roasted eggs, sweets, dried fish, breads and pastries, they would ask if we were part of the race. (Well of course they didn’t need to ask the actual team members who also made their required fuel-injected stop offs along the way.) Extra flights were scheduled by Air Mauritius, extra strings were pulled with the cargo ship company, to ensure everyone and every piece of equipment was where it needed to be. The blood running though the veins and hearts of the people of Rodrigues has changed. They already knew how to love their home, take time to live, and maximise their natural beauty of gorges, rivers, coves, numerous mountains and flawless ocean life. Their blood has changed because they have now been exposed to the world and family of Expedition Africa. They know now what it means to live a life of #itsallaboutlove by bringing together people from all over the world, to share one great experience of learning, laughter, tears, vulnerability, and joy. To embrace those who win, and just as importantly, to embrace those who try, and conquer. And now, just like that, the present has now turned into the past. The final mass of Expedition Africa family members departed the island this morning. Rodrigues can return to its quiet haven now, but for us the word Rodrigues will remain loud. We will continue to speak about this place for a long long time, probably forever. About that week in September in 2019, on a little wee humble quirky colorful island where adventure and adrenaline weaved together, to create a world of mutual understanding of living and loving. ‘Do you lluurrrrvvve Rodrigues???!!!!’ We certainly do.