So I was about to launch into a diatribe on the past two days until I read Kirstin's last blog entitled "Reality Check." If I may, I would love to refer you to that fabulously written account of Tue and Wed. Then, I invite you to come back and join me right here for the add-ons from my own experience.
Thanks! And I'll see you in a few....
Oh, you're back! I missed you. No really, I did.
So I've gotta toss humor aside for the moment, as well as my usual courtesy of language censorship. For that, I apologize to my people who aren't so keen on the 4-letter words. But right now I can't help myself.
As you read, this week has been quite unreal. Not just for me and Kirstin but for the group as a whole. We have been confronted with something more tangible than images on TV or newspapers. This shit is surrounding us, touching us in every way. Literally, all senses affected. The sight as I take in the juxtaposition of a modern highway flanked by shacks made of scraps. The smell of garbage and sewage. The sound of languages other than my own. The taste of fruit and vegetables untouched by pesticides. The feel of a child's trusting embrace.
I can't get over the GOVERNMENT PROVIDED sheet metal, one room, hot-as-hell shacks set upon acres of dirt and gravel. These are people's homes. This is life as they know it. They see us, they stare -- Why are these strangers here? Why are they staring back? .............How can they not wonder? We clearly don't belong.
I have an aversion to crying in public. That will to suppress was not strong enough following our visit with the man affected by TB and HIV. Couldn't freakin help myself. I'm wearing a face mask, standing in this man's fucking house, while his nurse tells us about his condition. Couldn't help myself.
The visit to Delft's medical center was fascinating. How could all of these people, with their myriad of health concerns, all be treated in the same place and NOT BE TURNED AWAY? In a place where a human is a human is a human. Not in America! No, not in the place where good healthcare is earned not given. Where a human is defined as one with the right amount of money, privilege and luck. The medical center visit brought my issues with the American "healthcare" system to the front of my mind (and mouth, as my roommates will tell you). This facility was staffed with hard-working, smart, passionate individuals who treat the whole person. Like Nate said, these are the true heroes. I couldn't agree more. America, you could learn a thing or two or 12,000.. (and if that healthcare law is repealed by the time I get back, I'm turning back around. for real.)
We're getting our hands dirty at MaAfrika Tikkun. Literally. I gardened/weeded A LOT in the sweltering sun, did a little re-painting of a room and hung out with the kids. It felt really good to do a bit of everything they needed help with today.
These kids at MaAfrika are blowing my mind. They have such joy and trust. They clearly love that we're here and we love being here with them. Kirstin mentioned their rehearsed ballroom dance.. One young boy repeatedly kept asking me to dance throughout the afternoon and I obliged. He had such poise and posture. At one point he even turned it up a few notches and seemed to challenge me with some moves. Yeah, I kept up.. fo sho. A few of my friends said, "Amanda, your boyfriend better watch out!" Just sayin, Danny, just sayin.... Today we saw boys around 4- or 5-years old poppin' and lockin' better than grown men! Could not get my jaw off the floor.
So, you see, it ain't all bad. My humor is still around (as I know that's been a concern for some back home), and we're getting through the hard/awkward/weird times as a group. It is undoubtedly a unique experience that we're launching into without reservation. I'm proud of the group and myself.
Tomorrow, Table Mountain. Finally!!!