“Home”

Adieu to an interesting part of Africa

And so the end of an amazing and exhausting adventure and Home beckons

‘Home’ to friends who mean the world to me and know me to my core and still chose me. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

“Home is where the heart is”, is for me, too simplistic.

Perhaps there comes a time when one must just accept – ‘Home’ isn’t always there for everyone. Fate conspires for many, and quite arbitrarily it seems, to confound the idea of ‘Home’ – whether through physical loss or rejection .

When we look at returning to the old ‘Home’ or staying in the new, Lady Macbeth comes to mind : ‘Returning were as tedious as go o’er’; so we end up with a foot in each camp – a wobbly somewhere.

Precious memories and links to our old ‘Home’ that keep us chained by a golden thread and special loving kind friends in our new ‘Home’ where we try to create memories that are spun too of golden thread – all very fragile.

I see it in my girls, in quiet moments when the earth is still – a certain look, a longing to ‘belong’, to be part of the rituals of a ‘Home’ – celebrations, mournings, laughing, weeping. I see it and I know it – it’s been my search too.

The joy of seeing my special ‘old friends’ will always be tempered by the knowledge that I must say good bye to them again

And That sadness will be softened by the knowledge that I will see my daughters and my new dear friends

And still we’re luckier than some – I met some Rwandans who have no threads at all – who got married with strangers celebrating with them – who could not go back to visit old friends and who have to start new traditions – alone
And that’s just for starters ….. Syrians, Somalis, Iraqis, Afghanis, seems
Home is certainly not available to everyone πŸ˜₯ so perhaps in this life it must be after all wherever the heart is, pending the next place of rest ❀️

Thanks Uganda , Rwanda and Kenya for a great experience

Cry My Beloved Country

 

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Beautiful Cape Town
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My University
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The drought bites hard
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Fees must Fall protests
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Protests become violent
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Share the Joy- Desmond Tutu : admired and loved by many

Cry my beloved Country – Alan Paton 1948

I have found it difficult, this time, to write about this Home. It was easy to write impressions and feelings of the other countries – I had no emotional history with or high hopes of them.

But South Africa – the country of my birth, the place I still think of as home.

This visit is painful –

Of course there is the usual ‘craziness’ of this country- driving off the freeway at Turfontein on a Sunday morning I am confronted by Bakkie (read ute) stopped diagonally across the exit – no wheels ; just sitting there (not sure for how long past or into future πŸ˜‚) so that if one wasn’t concentrating (well actually if you weren’t concentrating you wouldn’t have made it this far on a Jhb road πŸ˜‚) you too would find yourself stopped on the exit; with your nose (bonnet) well dented.

The story of trying to leave the airport where lifts fail, ticket machines won’t take your money and at each attempt to pay increases the amount due by R20😜
until my parking ticket was R175 instead of R25 and still it refused my money or card and finding someone interested enough to help!

The garage attendant still offers me a broad grin and happy conversation; the beggars still crowd round my car each time I stop anywhere and now the faces are truly our rainbow nation whereas in the past they were monochromely dark.

Woolworths still tempts the eye as it has always done with an array of food like I have never seen in Oz.

You still have to stand in line at the post office and bank forever and you don’t ever want to have to query a rates or lights and water bill – none of us will live long enough to get it resolved 😜

But now there is something more. As I sat in church today Alan Paton came to mind. I haven’t read that book since I was at school – don’t really recall the details – but again I hear people
‘Crying for their Beloved Country’
2016.

This is a country in pain –

a country whose leader will let his people sink, drown ,die; All his people to preserve himself.

A country that seems to be turning on itself – youth destroying universities -their vehicle to economic freedom

Black students attacking the very white students who fought for their equality : the most violent threats that I won’t repeat, made to fellow students.

Respected public figures being muzzled, charged on vague accusations.

There is a groaning and a feeling of ‘end times’ that is immensely sad and frightening.

And then there is the ‘normality’ of life which continues, as it must, I suppose. The conversations around our tables go back and forth, concern, shoulder shrugging, hope, despair.

And, as an ‘outsider’, sitting in on this I remember a very old movie : Ship of Fools (1965) and a line from it ; Rhulman, “There are one million Jews in Germany, are they going to kill us all?”

And I’m not sure why it comes to mind, but like Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country – something in me has shifted being here this time, and I can’t find the optimism and joy I used to see.

Add to that the severe drought –

this country feels like it is in pain –
real gut wrenching pain

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My Bubble

A week back ‘Home’ and I’m safely ensconced in ‘the bubble’.

I read the papers daily and make the appropriate sounds of indignation, anger, sadness but the Emotion which is engaged is one of resignation and mild detachment.

I meet my friends, enjoy the exchange rate that makes eating out easy – ( although the cost of living is much higher than previous visits)

We worry about the drought – but as an intellectual observation because ‘we have a borehole for our garden’

I see past the beggars, looking ahead at the robots (lights) as though there was
something very significant about them that demands my total attention.

I drive like a local – aggressively, fast (as opposed to Very fast which is the norm and I am sure my next step) always alert to ‘the possible’ – hi jacking, window smashing theft etc.

I feel the hair rise on my arms and my breathe tighten as someone suddenly stops, swerves in front of me, drops a stone onto my windscreen (and I nearly didn’t pay the extra for insurance πŸ˜‚), appears unexpectedly alongside my window – and then enjoy that strange sensation as your body realises all is well and slowly reverts to ‘normal’

‘Normal’

I’m back, like the proverbial frog and the hot water story, to normal enjoying this still remarkable country

Like ‘Home,’ ‘Normal’ is a question of definition πŸ˜œπŸ˜‚