- Kate Wilson

Chapter 1: The reluctant proposal

It’s fair to say Mulberry Mongoose officially began with a wedding proposal. Not your average wedding proposal either. I was 25 and working in recruitment in London; my life revolved around the tube, work and London bars. My now husband, Dave, broke the routine by taking me on a canoe Safari in Zimbabwe for my first trip to Africa. I absolutely loved being on the water and the beauty of the landscape. Surprisingly (!) I was not naturally confident paddling past crocodiles and hippo and I nearly passed out when we were mock charged by a large bull elephant. After this traumatic event my husband pointed out that if an elephant is mock charging he is only sending a friendly warning. If he actually wanted to charge he would just go for it. Shaking like a leaf after such a close encounter I looked at Dave in disbelief.. did he really think that was a reassuring comment?

It was actually quite a funny marriage proposal. I had just turned 26 and was living the life in London with my mates, Dave was leaving the British army and all he wanted to do was return to the African bush. Dave’s dilemma was me… being rather single minded he figured he would propose and thus be able to ship me over to Africa with him. Blissfully ignorant of his plans I was dreaming of the red dressing gown I hoped he would get me for my birthday. The proposal was made in a small hotel outside of Harare, he called me over to give me my birthday gift... I excitedly appeared hoping for the long awaited for dressing gown I was stunned into silence by an engagement ring on a candle lit balcony. I went mute, uttered a number of terrified expletives and then made a very small squeak of a yes. I spent the next day in floods of tears thinking my life was over.. Dave looked on concerned as I grappled with my small but life changing yes. I was terrified instead of elated but as it happened that squeak of a yes marked the beginning of the most expansive, happy and fulfilling next Chapter of my life.

There wasn’t much time to dwell, within 4 months of the proposal Dave had found us a job in the Zambian bush and I was saying goodbye to family and friends….that’s where the story really gets started!

Also on the Blog