Our first morning on Bowen in August 2010 was sunny. We stumbled out of bed and drifted jet-lagged down to the Cove, colliding with the bewildering procession of Bowfest. I can only imagine what the kids thought, what they had to process aeroplaning in from Africa to be greeted by this foreign but friendly world.
Only after we settled did it emerge that they had been imagining living on an island the likes of a cartoon, one small hump of land, a coconut tree and a lonely family marooned.
It turned out, for them especially as all children on Bowen grow to know, that this village loves its little people. Their world rapidly grew to include adults as best friends, conversation partners on the things that really matter; trees, deer, rope-swings and the tide at Cape Roger.
As the old adage goes, the smaller the village the bigger your world. Our one son still thinks Bowen is Canada.
It does not need to be stated that we have loved our time on Bowen. We will cherish it for the rest of our lives. This rock has carved out a place in our hearts. In the heat of Africa, when we close our eyes we will see the green and feel the touch on our skin of the cool mist caressing the contours of Mt Gardner. And we will imagine the waters, skies and towering peaks in the Howe Sound. What a place to live on God’s earth!
We give our thanks to you all for accepting us, for loving us and caring for all of us. Most especially the community of Cates Hill Chapel who bore with us in all our failings and cared for us ahead of our coming, and whom we know, will continue to care for us long after our going.
Note: James and Corli, with their children Miléna, Rauen, Zeb, Belén and Zac, are returning to South Africa to start a Christian Study Centre near the University of Cape Town.