“Travel teaches how to see” – African Proverb

I have always yearned to visit Africa.

I want to watch lions prowl in their natural habitat. I want to gaze into an elephant’s eyes and witness a wise matriarch who has traversed the continent. I want to sit quietly with the silverback gorillas.

Instead, I finished medical school and residency, got married, and had kids. I dreamed of Africa, but figured it would stay a dream for another decade, until my teacher friend, Becky, said, “My school is going to South Africa. You could come.”

This is a short book of poems, mixed with occasional prose, about my travels in South Africa and Swaziland. From visiting a Mom and Baby clinic and surfing in Jeffrey’s Bay, to dissecting an impala in Moholoholo, to shopping in Swaziland, and culminating in a safari in Kruger National Park. Almost 100 percent as a tourist, instead of as a doctor. And that’s okay. As the African proverb says, “Travel teaches how to see.”

Cover for The Knowledgeable Lion, a book of poetry by Melissa Yuan-Innes. Features a lion staring out among dry grass