The Beauty Is Yet to Come

Three weeks ago the Zam Fam began our day headed to Victoria Falls to see one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. We hiked in to the national park, and—when we got our first glimpse of the falls—we wanted to stop and take it all in.  From our first view we walked to the right side of the falls where the Zambezi River dropped off. We were perpendicular to the water as it fell. We could see the other cliffs that faced the river that were filled with luscious green rainforest trees. When we looked down where the water fell we could see jagged rocks and crashing water that fell so hard it sprayed back up to our eye level. We could even see a rainbow formed from the reflection of the sun on the spraying water. I remember trying to juggle taking in the beauty of the falls with my own eyes, taking photos on my phone, and taking photos on my digital camera.  I remember also feeling dumbstruck. I didn’t want to move from the spot we were at. Despite this Father Dominic, kept telling us as a group, “Let’s keep moving the beauty is still yet to come”. So I marched on.

We backtracked and went down a path to the left that we saw from the previous viewing point.  Again, we could see the falls and the same feeling overcame me. The spot was surrounded by green rainforest trees that created a sort of dome out of which jetted a platform to see the falls. From this angle we were face to face with the sudden drop off where the Zambezi river crashed over the edge and became Victoria Falls. We could see the falls on both our left and our right. On the left hand the falls seemed to stretch out far. Again I wanted to stop, and again Dominic said “Keep Moving the Beauty is still yet to come”.

Again I marched, but I fell behind the rest of the group. This time I found myself on a bridge where I could see Victoria falls on my right and water sprayed up onto me. To my left was a second bridge that resided within Zimbabwe where I could see bungee jumpers fall. I could also see a rainforest beneath me with more beautiful green trees and running rapids. From the spraying water another rainbow was forming. Yet again, I wanted to take photos and soak it up, but I was told “There is still more beauty to come.” We walked up the trail and there was a spot that sat the closest to the other side of the falls where the water of the Zambezi fell. At this spot the spraying water from the falls was so powerful and so close to us the water felt like a heavy rain. I stood there dancing, singing, playing with my fellow Zags as we all tried to (literally) soak in the beauty of Victoria falls. As I sat there I thought to my self, “This must be what Dominic meant by ‘the Beauty is still yet to Come’”.

“The Beauty is Still Yet to Come.” These words have stuck with me through this whole trip.

As we approach the end of our time in Zambezi, many of our minds are turning to things like saying goodbye to the people of Zambezi, what our our first meal at home will be, or seeing the faces of our loved ones back home. At least I know my mind has turned to thoughts such as these. However, every time I think like this I am reminded of Dominic’s words. “The Beauty is Still Yet to Come”. 

After posting this blog we will have only three full days left in Zambezi. So what do we have left to look forward to? On Wednesday we will be hosting an “Accompaniment dinner” for all of our closest friends of the program. Each student will be inviting one person they have considered a close friend or cultural mentor and we will prepare a meal for them. This is meant to be a celebration of the relationships we have developed in our short time in Zambezi. 

The hope of the Accompaniment Dinner is that these relationships will not end when we step on the bush plane on Friday. 

The hope is that the relationships that have been created with Zambezi will be maintained both at the individual level and the community level.  The hope is that each Gonzaga student will not forget the people of Zambezi, and will still check in with the town every once in a while, even if they never return. The hope is also Gonzaga will again return and the long history between Gonzaga and Zambezi will last well into future. This hope is what “The Beauty is Still Yet to Come” has come to mean to me. We still have a short time on this trip and many highlights remain. We still can create memories of and with the people here. This is something we shouldn’t mentally rush past to get home, no matter how much we miss it there.

Even on these last days there are still beautiful moments to be found. Just this last Friday Ellie, Ani, Dominic, and I hosted a panel on mental health at Zambezi Boarding. The panel went very well and many of the students reported feeling they learned from it. I plan to keep in touch with the teachers who helped us organize this and continue to deepen the relationships we have there before we leave.

Even once we do find ourselves on a plane returning to the United States, the beauty doesn’t have to end there. We can still send WhatsApp messages to our friends here. We can still send supplies for ZamCity when the next Gonzaga class goes. We can still recruit underclassman to ensure the program survives. All of these small actions ensure the beauty of our trip doesn’t have to end here. We hopefully might even find ourselves like I did in Victoria Fall surprised at just how beautiful the world can be.

To my family and friends back home I miss you very much. I will see you soon.


Will Kelly, ’26

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9 Responses to The Beauty Is Yet to Come

  1. Bryce Kreiser says:

    Thank you for sharing, Will. The beauty is still yet to come. What a stirring and wonderful promise. I pray the peace of Jesus fills each of you as you engage in these final days of your appointment in Zambezi.

    Bryce (Zambezi 2019)

  2. Cam Bechtel says:

    hi will!

    this post was really moving – it reminded me that not only is life always full of more beauty in the future, but also that even when you can’t find any beauty in your current situation there will always be beauty ahead if you just keep marching on. i’ve never been part of a group or trip like the one you’re all on right now, but i’ve experienced both my most hopeless and most joyful moments while at Gonzaga. all these posts remind me how lucky i am to be part of our broader community, which has been there for me through it all. i like to think I’ll be carrying on your motto as part of myself now too.

    thank you (especially Dominic) for that

    – Cam

  3. Uncle Dave says:

    What is it about priestly wisdom that just so often cuts to the truth? From one old Zag who also had the privilege of traveling abroad, experiencing the incredible wonder of the world and meeting people – both those you’ll say goodbye to in Zambia and those you’ll return with to the States – whose kindness, generosity, and beauty humbled me beyond all measure, I can tell you Fr. Dominic is prophetic, “the beauty is yet to come.”
    As much as these experiences have touched you and undoubtedly deepened you already, I can almost guarantee that as you progress in life these encounters will continue to work their magic and shape you in ways both subtle and profound. Thanks, Will Kelly, for sharing your reflections and to all of you for participating in the good work you’re doing there and the crafting of your own souls.

  4. Ruth says:

    Hi Will,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I am so glad to hear that you are seeing the beauty of Zambia: its nature, but more importantly, its people. It sounds like you are meeting some wonderful people who are having an impact on your life. Father Dominic’s phrase, “the beauty is yet to come” can be related to your experience in Zambia, but also in your life in general. It is good to try to find the beauty in our lives all the time. I hope that you enjoy your final days in Zambia! Your dad and I can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures, see your photos, and learn about the people who you have been working with both from Gonzaga and from Zambia.

    Love you,

  5. Emily's Mom : ) says:

    Loved your reflection! The beauty is still yet to come is a great mantra!

    We are counting the days until the ZamFam is back in the U.S.

    Emily we can not wait to hear your amazing refelctions LIVE!

    Saying goodbye to your amazing compadres is going to be real challenge!
    Bring it home safely Zags!
    Love and Prayers for all!
    Emily’s Mom

  6. Michelle Doty says:

    My heart is achey for you all. Bodies get tired and minds need rest – hearts not so much from this group. While I am yearning to see Lucia and hear more about the trip, I wish you happy tears as you relish the last bits and say goodbye – Ugh – heavy heart. I loved the way you summed up ways that you will stay connected – Monday, body, spirit and definitely heart! All of you – these shares have exceeded my expectations – thank you.

  7. Klaire Powers says:

    Thank you for sharing Will. It sounds like there have been so many beautiful connections made over the last few weeks. And Ellie and I will be sharing Dominic’s motto with our family and friends. ❤️

    Klaire (Ellie’s Mom)

  8. Sherri Lynch says:

    What an incredible journey you’ve been on, Will. It’s fun to see this time through your eyes. Thanks for sharing!

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