5.13.2012

May is Hard

I'm not too sure if I'm going to look back on this post and laugh about my thought process in May or cry because I can't believe I got through this.

May has been hard. (and I'm only fourteen days into the month) Yes, my Cape town trip was absolutely stunning and so much fun but my thoughts have been elsewhere this whole month. My thoughts are consumed with "what happens in a few months when I am home" to "how the heck am I going to leave these children and my host family when my entire heart is here?" - will I ever recover?
I was chatting with Neliswa this past week and she asked me if she could make a goodbye video for me and just say her name, age, school and how much she will miss me. I was totally on board with the idea! However, her reasoning behind the video was to ensure that I wouldn't forget her. It's typical for people to walk in and out of these kids lives and I will be just another one of those people very soon. In replying to her I realized consciously for the first time that I will never forget my experience here. I will never forget each child's face... video or not. I told Neliswa we should make the video and that I would watch it for the rest of my life.. even past sixty! She giggled and thought I was joking, but I know in my heart that I wasn't.

I've let this year in South Africa completely ruin me. In a good way. I've learnt so much, given so much of myself and my heart to this incredibly amazing country but now I can't seem to focus on anything else. I don't know how to move forward and getting out of bed each morning seems to become harder and harder. I don't want to work any more, I don't want to be here because if I am already struggling this much with two months to go I'm not sure how I can physically cope when I actually have to say goodbye. How do I grasp the concept that I probably will never see these children again? How do I leave to go back to my North American "all about me" lifestyle knowing they will be eating putu for dinner yet again? I can't begin to fathom leaving, knowing that no one is coming to replace me to love and be a mother for the children..
but instead of making that drive me to do everything I possibly can before I leave.. it has had the total opposite effect. I have pushed it all away and become completely homesick because I don't know how to handle these thoughts and emotions.
People keep sending me such wonderful encouragement to "be present" and "finish strong" but do you honestly know how hard that is!?! Can you honestly tell me that if you knew what I was feeling.

A part of me is just so tired of this life and wants to able to run and be athletic again! I want to be able to walk down the street without thinking I could be rape or stolen from. I brought the kids with me to the grocery store last week because I just wanted a few vegetables, and I continually got harassed and stalked and made the children scared... so now I can't walk by myself and when I bring the children along I still get followed...I don't know what to do.. I'm tired of asking people for rides so that I can go get a bag of apples and I feel completely helpless because I am too afraid now to venture out on my own. And as I'm complaining to you and sharing my reality my heart is so upset at the fact that I am privileged. What I deal with for a year, these women grow up with it, they live with it every single day and most times they have it a lot worse. I am a white foreigner which declares to South Africans that I am rich and I have made friends who have vehicles and can go to Cape town with me or see the mountains. Although I do live very simply, I have the option to not to on weekends and for vacation. My children probably won't ever have those privileges. These thoughts are always running through my mind and recently I have felt so guilty spending time going to church or bible study because I should be with the kids.. I am not finding the right balance here and I don't even know where to start to change that.

So May is hard & that's okay........ right?

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