The last few days have been very busy. We are working hard to meet the goals of the project and I can see that my teammates and I are all missing...something. Whether its our loved ones, our furry children, our beds, our cars, our own bathrooms, our own personal space, we are all missing something. As grateful as we are to have this once in a lifetime opportunity - missing home and normalacy is inevitable. I must say, however, that there are some aspects of home I have found here in South Africa.
The community we conduct work in reminds me of the community where I spent the first 5 years of my life - from the red dirt to the washing lines to the elderly women who look after all the children as if they were their own, I am reminded of my old home.
There is a woman that we work with a few times a week, Ms. Connie - she helps us identify individuals to interview among other things. She takes a break from her daily service to the community to walk us around for hours at a time - taking us from house to house and talking with us about how she can help. Ms. Connie or Go-Go as I call her, reminds me of the strong selfless Black women who have always been part of my life in some capacity or another, always willing to give freely of self for the benefit of others.
There is a dog in the community who reminds me of my sweet fluffy love child, Rosceaux (pcitured below to the left). Lord knows I miss my stinky lover fluffy butt <3
There are little girls who run to hug me whenever I see them, who beg me to spin them around so their legs can fly in the air, who want me to braid their hair, who want to play with my jewelry, or simply spend sometime talking. These sweet children remind me of my beautiful neices.
Some of people in the community remind me of people from my church - thankful for God's blessings no matter their circumstances, always willing to extend a helping hand to those in need, and excited about contributing to projects that are centered around positive change.
As a person of African ancestry, being on the continent sometimes makes me feel more at home than I have ever felt in the United States. I feel it most when I take a second to slow down, when I calm my thoughts, breathe, and take in the essence of all that is around me. It is those moments where I realize it most - I am home.
Although I am surely missing the people, places, and spaces that are part of my day to day routine in Richmond, the saying "home is where the heart is" has become so relevant to my current state of mind. My heart is here right now - with the people of Kenneth Gardens, with the youth of Brettenwood, with my South African colleagues, and with this project overall. Home is here for now - I just have to look a bit harder and pause more often than normal to see that. I honestly beleive that the same unifying spirit that runs deep in my life in Richmond is here with and around me in South Africa, continuing to show me the beauty of people, places, and spaces, continuing to expand my knowledge and beliefs.
With that said, I will close this post with a few lyrics from my favorite songstress, India Arie. We all miss our normal so I want to offer my colleagues and myself some Chicken Soup in a post :)
"Not enough hours in a day; Enough days in a week
Weeks in a month, we will never get it all done..."
"You're on planes and trains and buses; bi-coastal, international
Yes this lifestyle has its pluses but some days it don't feel natural