“Torn between wanting to stay and wanting to go and worried it will be the wrong decision either way…” [Story People].
The above quote envelops my thoughts completely as I only have little time left in Soweto. The upside is that my journey does not end here; it will continue to whatever is next in this life that God has planned for me.
South Africa has been a truly blessed opportunity. I have been introduced to many traditions, cultures, languages, and experiences foreign to me. I wouldn’t trade this year for anything. Of course there have been struggles, but also, joys and giving of thanks for the roadblocks that enables me to grow as an individual. One of my favorite concepts of South Africa is Ubuntu: “I am because WE are;” a crucial motto to live by and to live among others. The idea that everyone is family no matter if you are truly their brother, sister, cousin, or friend from down the street. Family and friends have each other’s backs and are there for one another in times of challenges and happiness.
I was blessed to have the opportunity to not only live and experience the multi-cultural place of Soweto, but to also travel to other cities and provinces. South Africa is one of the most diverse places in terms of races, cultures, and landscape. It has a magnificent coastline, natural game reserves, mountain ranges, stretches of desert and of course city and rural life. I loved traveling to the many different areas and being a witness to the ways of life.
I have enjoyed spending my time with the children of CWJ and WC during the afterschool program at DAM. I’ve spent many hours playing with them, helping out with homework and educational activities. I never thought I would have so much fun and grow so attached to the children, however at my farewell party the other day it was hard to know that this would be the last hugs I would be giving the children. It is hard to say goodbye, but I pray that I will be able to return to DAM and South Africa again for a visit in the future.
There are many wonderful memories that I will forever remember. I am thankful for all of the experiences and people that have made my time here unforgettable. A shout out to the Central Western Jabavu for welcoming me with open arms; the staff at DAM for providing me with a home and always sharing a smile; and every other stranger I met who made my year here incredible.