Bibi & Babu’s Vow of Love with Tanzanite and Diamonds under Maasai Magic in Africa
At the end, life is like quicksand and passes in a moment. John and I had already experienced this with the death of our spouses. Both had long-term illnesses that required our dedicated caregiving. Every day we were robbed of the person we knew and loved. Every day we grieved over every new loss of their dignity, independence and vitality. Every day we smiled brightly while our hearts and souls were tortured with their pain in our prison of helplessness to relieve their suffering. When that final moment came, we welcomed it with relief for they were finally free to fly with the angels.
But then came the realization that we were really alone, and life seemed empty. I know I looked in the mirror, and as the TV star Betty White loves to tell the audience, I didn’t know who that person was because I still felt twenty-one in spirit. John’s epiphany was similar as we both declared on our own, “I want to live!”
In that exclamation of the soul, we released the past and welcomed the future.
Very soon after, I stopped at a Tim Horton’s Donut Shop and ahead of me in line was John. When he turned around, his twinkle disarmed me and within seconds we were chatting away like old friends. I really had an appointment that I wished I didn’t have to keep, but as I was unlocking my car door, John came dashing out the Tim Horton’s door calling, “I have to give you a hug.”
My heart lifted. And when he hugged me, I felt as if I had come home. “We’re going to see each other again, aren’t we?” he said.
“OH YES,” I sighed, and handed him my personal business card.
Is there a simple beginning to every love story? I don’t know. But, from the outset, we felt free in spirit ... together. We intuitively trusted each other and could talk abut anything without feeling judged or embarrassed. We laughed at the silliest of things because as John likes to say, “Life is too serious to be serious.”
We dared to dream. John had always wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, and I had wanted to return to Africa after being in Rwanda in 1994. While there, I discovered a spiritual awakening that nothing had equalled since. I needed to go back, to see if that experience was one moment in time or something more significant.
John was 77-years-old and I was 72, but that did not give me any qualms for either of us. We decided to live our dreams, for we are what we believe we are. Besides, John was perfectly fit. I knew he could do it, but since I didn’t have the stamina, I would cheer him on rather than hold him back. For me, going on this safari together was an adventure I never expected to enjoy in my lifetime.
And so it was here just after we left the Maasai village that we were introduced to tanzanite, which is only found and mined on Maasai land in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Tanzanite is actually a blue ziosite better known as a “blue diamond” because of its brilliance and fire. The more intense the blue color is, the better the quality and the higher in value the tanzanite stone is. With only a few years of mining left, tanzanite is a disappearing exquisite blue stone 1,000 times rarer than diamonds with a hardness similar to emeralds.
At a trading post outside the Maasai village, John spent time watching the Maasai artisan grind down both tanzanite stones and diamonds. Beside his station was the entrance to a gallery of rings and jewelery. John pulled me inside and told me to look at the diamond and tanzanite rings.
Aside from the tanzanite’s rarity and “blue chip” investment opportunity, what fascinated us even more was hearing the story about its many mystical and healing powers.
The Maasai believe tanzanite is a gemstone that shows us a graceful, gracious way to live as it uplifts and opens our hearts. It is said people who wear it feel a spiritual power pulling them up. It also encourages the wearer to help others because it helps us realize our own individual truth is connected to eternal truths. We become well-grounded in truth, nature and spirituality. While wearing tanzanite, it is also said it helps us speak our highest truth while it enhances our psychic abilities.
In the spirit of the story, John took my hand and said, “Things happen for a reason. This has been our truth from the first moment we met. I want you to choose a ring that represents our love for the rest of our lives together.”
It seemed so right, but the price tags gnawed at my Scottish conscience. Without missing a beat, John said, “We’re investing in our future together, aren’t we?”
The clerk pulled out a different tray, and immediately I saw the ring that represented us. Three trillium tanzanite gems with a diamond set between them. The points of each gemstone represented the mountains of life we were climbing together at the same time as the three tanzanite stones spelled out our vow, “I love you.” Each diamond between stood for us, Bibi & Babu, joined by our resilience.
When we returned home, we wanted to share our life-changing experience in Africa with our children and grandchildren. Photos didn't seem enough. We also wanted to tell them about the mystical and spiritual changes we had experienced with the Maasai and Tanzanian people. There was no sense of a color bar. We were all part of one loving universe linked by each moment we were together.
So, we created our Legacy story, Bibi & Babu in Africa, just for them. But when others read it, they begged us to publish this story and to keep a journal and photos about every trip we take from now on. The result? The Bibi & Babu Travel Series. By the end of 2016, we will have completed five books about our recent journeys. We hope you not only enjoy them but also dream along with us as well as read what we have discovered about the world we live in to your children and grandchildren. Having a dream is what keeps us young, and for some, living that dream renews our lease on life.