Home is where the heart is. But what if its GPS signal is mixed up? The past weeks my heart told me it was ready to go home to reunite with friends and family. But now that the end is near, an anxious feeling seeps in. I wonder, will my heart follow me to the place that I call home? Or will it remain buried here in the soil of South Africa?
Some time ago I was telling an American guy about all the things I love about this country. When I stopped talking he said I was like a loving mother, and that those who saw me with my child would never guess it was adopted. But maybe I am not the mother but the child? The child who grows stronger from the love and example posed by the mother. How expressive people are here, how they sing and dance and laugh, is how I want to be. How they value community and extended family, connect to people, is how I want the people around me to be.
Ubuntu Academy at graduation camp!
The past week I went to camp with Ubuntu Academy’s students. Ubuntu Academy is the organization I’ve been working for here. The academy taps into the performing arts talent of youths from townships around Cape Town – try to add value by teaching the students about leadership and entrepreneurship. In theory at least. In practice I think Ubuntu Academy brings talents together, who then learn from each other, and teach the academy about the potential of South African youth. Either way, these young adults just added to the heap of soil under which lies my heart. They sang, they danced, they acted, they shared their thoughts and views, they pulled pranks, they flirted (with us and each other), they helped where they could and they laughed so much. I fell in love with them, and in effect with South Africa, because it is them who are this country.
Every morning, student Zolani chilled out our morning by playing The Soil, which will forever be the soundtrack to my happiness of that week. As I write this they sing “I’ve got joy in my heart. We are family, I know it I know it I know it.” Yes I know it: South Africa and I – we are family.