I want to continue my last entry just a tad. After that extremely heavy experience in Delft, we went to class at the University and added some more weight. It is productive weight though that will only make me stronger. I learned more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa. I witnessed the truth, both powerful and ugly. It was an Act that aimed to heal a nation and have a new beginning. I won't go into all the details, but if you don't know much about it, look it up. I believe that if the United States did something similar to confront the ugly truth about our country, many people would benefit. The main idea is about forgiveness. Desmond Tutu' stated, "There is no future without forgiveness." In my heart, this is true. The TRC allowed oppressed Africans for the first to tell their horrific stories in front of the whole country. It allowed perpetrators to apply for amnesty for the wrong they have done to others by telling the whole truth, in detail. The video I watched in class on the TRC was heartbreaking but real. Forgiveness is not easy and many times, oppressed families did not forgive the oppressors for the inhumane and unspeakable acts against them. I can't say I blame them. If the police killed my 16-year old son and nine of his friends because they were freedom fighters, I think forgiveness would be a challenge to say the least. Or if the police stabbed my husband, 67 times and tried covering it, forgiveness would be a challenge. Or if the police mutated my genitals with electric shocks and raped me, forgiveness would be a challenge...
So the next day, I went back to Delft just like I said I would. I got my hands dirty pulling weeds to save the garden. I went on a home visit in the townships with a small group and was invited in with LOVE. It Lifted my spirits, Opened my eyes, Validated my feelings, and Enlightened my heart. The mother was a foster mom of a two month-old baby who was abandoned at a shopping mall when he was two weeks old. He was found with drugs in his system. She took him in and now will raise him until he is eighteen. She is also tending to a five-year-old boy who lost his mother. She is an incredible woman who has so much to offer the world and her family. Her two daughter, Jade who is 16 and Shanell, who is twelve...I fell head over heals for. They taught me how to dance and play hand clapping games! They were proof that life, even in a ten by ten square foot house with 8 people, is happy and home. I am blessed and very humbled to be able to experience what I am. It is truly awakening. My compassion for people is higher than the sky. I am slowly starting to heal on this journey, which is what I came for.
YESTERDAY, I went on a freaking safari! Mind blowing and breathtaking. I say lions, springbok, wilder beasts, hippos, giraffes, elephants, ostriches, zebras, and rinos! I was so close to each and everyone. (videos and pics coming soon) Less than ten feet from an enormous male and female lion. I cried when he looked me in the eye when I caught his attention by sniffling. The elephant walked right up to the vehicle within touching distance. I couldn't believe my eyes. I got to end the experience with a delicious buffet and pool at the reserve in the mountains! I am feeling quite content and think I could die happy now :)
Today was a little scary. We took a boat to Robbin Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years. It was very intense, and HOT. Hence why I got heat stroke...put on a stretcher into an ambulance...and rode the stretcher on the boat back to land. It was a strange experience. My body didn't really feel like my own. My body cramped and tingled until my vision spotted out. Luckily, I have amazing people on this trip who helped me and kept me from panicking. THANKS...you know who you are! I am doing better now...just tired, sore, and weak, drinking nasty salty rehydration water, and putting a little food in my belly.
One last thing...Ubuntu. It is a South African concept I have been learning about and witnessing here in this beautiful moral country. Simply put..."I am me, because of you." It is the idea of togetherness. It runs deep in my heart. I would like to live more of my life in reflection of this concept. I feel like in America, that is hard given that we are such and individualistic society. I can start with my friends and family. The article I read has a sentence that says, "Africans do not divide the world into secular and sacred - all life is sacred, and each part inextricably bound through the whole to all the other parts...there is a connectedness between all things and all events. Also, "Any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind." These speak to me. Just food for thought.
HAVE A GOOOOOOD NIGHT <3