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Coffee with the past

I have a fascination with new discoveries and possibilities.

Be it the existence of water on Mars, a new species of butterfly in the forests of Mozambique or a new fossil in the cradle of humankind. Either way I love the possibility that it holds and it sparks my imagination about what is still yet to be discovered.

On Friday the 30th of June 2017 at 8pm I went in search of the past. I was fortunate to be invited on a caving trip with the Speleological Exploration Club of South Africa to see the cave system where Homo Naledi was discovered. They have been given very special permission to explore this cave system called “the rising star” from where Naledi derives her name, meaning Star.

We accessed the cave from another system called Westminster, where the first maneuver to get in is called “Upside down-twist-turn” which is just that. You go head down into a crack get to the bottom, twist onto your back and then turn into a tunnel that you crawl on your belly for about 10 meters. If you make it through there you still have a few more aptly named experiences like, The Nut Cracker, The post box, Superman crawl and my favourite… The Squeeze, where you control your breathing to fit through.

Eventually after about two and a half hours we reached the area where Homo Naledi was discovered. It is a special place mostly because it is believed to be a burial site for this species which is unique. It also raises more questions than answers at this stage. For me though I felt a sense of connection with the past, so often I consider my future and my families future and to take the time to sit in the dark and think about where I have come from was quite profound for me.

To mark this occasion I decided that it would be a good idea to do what I do best and make a cup of coffee in the cave close to where Naledi was discovered. I had a very nice Ethiopian coffee which I thought would be appropriate as last year April I got to see Lucy (Australopithecus) who was discovered in Ethiopia. I enjoyed thinking about my past while connecting these two discoveries with my passion for coffee and sharing a coffee with the past.

Exiting the cave at about midnight I took a breath of sweet cool air and looked up at the moon and stars and began thinking about the future again by immediately plotting the next adventure coffee would take me on. Where else could I make a cup of coffee? Who else could I meet and make a cup of coffee for? Coffee is a delicious conduit through which adventures and good times can flow.