8.19.2011

Safe in South Africa but not feeling safe

So my heart has been pounding and I am scared. I'm not sure if this is my first official "culture shock" or not but seeing something up close tonight hit me very hard.

First the good news. I have successfully arrived in South Africa and I am currently blogging to you from Jo Burg.  I left at 11am Thursday morning and had a 45 minute flight from PA to Washington. Than at 5:40 I was suppose to fly to South Africa for a 18 hour flight stopping once in Senegal but I didn't need to get off and arriving 24 hours later with the time difference. I boarded the flight and just as we were about to take off a thunderstorm rolled on through- to keep it short I sat in the plane for 3 hours waiting for the weather to calm down- once we got the go ahead and were on the runway it started raining again and once again we had to pull off- I sat for another 2 hours after that. Finally by 10pm we were off!

Me and the crew (5 others, 2 going to Durban, 2 (including me) to PMB and 2 to Lestho) arrived just before 9 in Jo Burg. What a beautiful city of about 12 million. James and Joan (my MCC reps) picked us up at the airport and than we headed to a retreat centre to stay at for the first two days and do some touring and orientation stuff.

South Africa isn't that safe.. I know thats a stereotype but its true in Jo Burg and I got a wake up call tonight. James realized that we had taken an exit to late so he just was going to turn around (something we all can do only a daily basis and not think twice about) When getting off the highway we saw 3 men dressed in black, a smashed car, a women crying inside the car and the 3 men running away back down the highway ready to pounce again. I wasn't sure if the men were going to run to our vehicle at first or not- it all happened so fast. We were carrying a trailer behind us full of our luggage from the flight- this would have made us a very easy target. James continued to drive through the red light and back onto the highway- we were watching to see which direction the men where going in to make sure they weren't going to come to us- James said that there was more of us so the chances were slim.

Welcome to South Africa... within the first 30 minutes of me being in this country the car in front of us was mugged and smashed. I promised myself I would be honest with you on this blog. It's sometimes difficult knowing that anyone and everyone could read this and that I don't know who is reading this but I you to be able to connect with me and come on this journey with me so I will continue being honest...

When I saw this tears filled my eyes and I wanted to tell James and Joan that I wanted to go home. I am ashamed to write that because in my first thirty minutes I was questioning giving up and second guessing God's calling. It's been a hard night and that women's face is burnt into my memory tonight.

Currently I am sitting in a fairly cozy room- def. not a four star or anything but it's cute. I don't feel safe from the incident that just occurred but I do know that I am well protected. There is a guard outside the house to make sure and the centre has huge brick walls all around it line with barbed wire- to get in we had to pass the guard and a huge gate. James said we are as safe as we can be. I still feel uptight about everything but as I'm typing this I'm feeling much better. I had to shower tonight in the dark because their was no electricity (but yet there is wifi..hmmm?) and it was cold but it was new experience and I am looking forward to those.

I kno my thoughts are all over the place... I'm sorry... but I am all over the place. I want my mom too. I couldn't help wonder if those 3 men where looking for someone easy to attack.....what I mean is...

-she was a women
- alone in her car with no other passengers
- it was dark out

Was she easy prey? It's something that I'm still thinking about and according to Jame's comment and what I've heard and read, women are treated sometimes less than men..

I can't help but put myself in this women's position. How many times have I driven home after the sun went down?
If I was that women in Jo Burg and three men swarmed my car and smashed my car and windows.. I would give them anything they wanted as well..why...because I'm powerless. (in that situation) It's a hard thing to swallow and a hard thing to take in 30 minutes after landing.

James told us that we would talk about this later and how to deal with it.. I'm looking forward to learning more about South Africa and it's safety.

Let's just say that my heart hasn't stopped pounding and for the rest of the way "home" we only slowed down on red lights and didn't stop..

I'm a young women trying to follow God's calling for my life..even if I have to be in scary situations.


5 comments:

  1. Praying for you Maddie, hope the Lord uses you while you are in Africa! xoxo Hailey Neal

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  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Maddie. I truly appreciate your honesty. I found it hard to see how many people become powerless such as the woman you saw tonight when I was in SA. It's a harsh reality that safety is a privaledge for many people... but on the other hand some people are so controlled by fear that they remain shut off to the 80% of SA that is black. Keep pressing through! I am excited that God has already begun to stretch you! I'm praying for you! Kaitlin

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  3. I'm praying for you too Maddie! You will fill up my prayer journal tonight! :)
    Tatum

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  4. Maddie thanks so much for being honest! It is really good to hear everything, not just the good things. I'll definitely be keeping you in my prayers! Karissa

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  5. Maddie,God doesn't waste any time in drawing you nearer to Him. He is your strength and your PEACE. Rest there. Scripture says, "when you lie down you shall not be afraid, when you lie down your sleep shall be sweet" Proverbs 3:24 and verse 25 says, "do not fear sudden disaster" ... your God controls them all! Praying always for you. Sweet dreams! Love Gillian

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