Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika

Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika 
Malupnakanyisw udumo lwayo 
Yizwa imthandazo yethu 
nkosi sikelela 
Thina lusapho lwayo 

this is my last post in Africa and what a journey it has been. i'm not the same girl that left five months ago. something has been awakened. its bittersweet. to know that i am leaving and coming yet still there are no words for the way this heart will feel upon arrival. heres to south africa for breaking me and building me. to the hidden and reveled. to you and me. and to her, Mama Africa 

God bless Africa 
May her spirit rise up
Hear our prayers 
God bless us. 
We your children.

happiness in all its colors

in the wide open air. its opener there. 
dancing nights away with the girls
love. love. abdul-raheem. 

walking the streets of stellenbosch
what john cristiani captures. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

perfect day...

kayamandi pre-primary 
sheeps head

kids at kayamandi

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

obama for your momma

our president elect is pretty much amazing. 

im looking foward to the next four years.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

catch and release...

Again, the past couple of days have been unreal. I’ve gotten a chance to talk to friends from back home, family and friends who also decided to study around the world. I said goodbye to friends going home early.  I’ve made new friends with less than twenty days left here. It’s unbelievable. The other international students (dutch, german, etc.) have been walking around with little ‘autograph’ books for everyone to sign. So of course I also jumped on the bandwagon with my own little going away book haha. I’m waiting to read it when I get home… It’s so strange. To feel that there are so many and yet so few days left here. I find myself flowing between people and places, photographing the reverberating melody of sounds and recording a symphony of pictures. A wine glass from our first wine festival. A bracelet from the garden route. A rock from Cederburg. I have yet to have a day when my I’m not holding my sides from laughing or singing at the top of my lungs to the songs of goodbye’s and see-ya-laters. I’ve met movement makers and soul shakers and all along I’ve been scared I wouldn’t be able to keep them all. The reality, as we come closer and closer to leaving, that no, I can’t keep them, is both crushing and comforting. It’s kind of like the first time you jump in the pool, all the water rushes around you, everything outside is muted and for a moment all you hear is the sound of water until you hit the bottom, push up and break the surface again. Above surface, for a few seconds, everything hits with a different vibration and a new intensity. That’s what it feels like and through it all whether it's 20 days or a few hours I'm praising God.  For the significant and insignificant. For the ability to catch and release. For this and that and all of it.  

For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else. 

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, October 31, 2008

how about me enjoying the moment for once...

thank you India.
thank you terror
thank you disillusionment
thank you frailty.
thank you consequence.
thank you, thank you silence.

(driving back to Stellie)

(Athule, Portia and Boniswa at the playground)

(sunset on the winefarm)
(playing at the beach in Sommerset West)
(Athule, Christina, and Noluvo at Kayamandi)

(the sixth graders and their tutors)
(actvity time: Kayamandi)

thank you Africa.
thank you Providence.
thank you disillusionment
thank you nothingness.
thank you clarity

thank you, thank you silence.

bits and pieces....

...from the past two weeks. I seem to have fallen in love with lists. but i don't think i'm going about it in the right way....

-im done with school! 
-but no one else seems to be
-so im left to my devices
-which is DEFINITELY not a good thing
-I got a postcard from Courtney 
-she's in spain
-i took several yearbook pictures 
-from three different decades.
-i used these as my profile pics 
-i drank way way way to much juice. 
-i liked it
-my housemate bought 4 puppies
-i've been educating them in the ways of the world 
-this is a problem because i have a 5 second attention span
-so do they 
-i voted. 
-my moms birthday was on wednesday! 
-i love my mom. 
-speaking of love
-i've recently discovered the joys of trance, techno, and house music
-i enjoy blasting these at various hours of the day. 
-i love the Dutch
-and the Finnish 
-and most everyone else as well 
-i'm almost home
-thats weird 
-i might or might not have a sunburn 
-i cant tell 
-but it feels like it
-and it hurts. 
-i attempted to construct a schedule for next semester
-went for a bike ride instead 
-not my fault
-it was a nice day
-wrote a poem
-puppy ate it 
-i fell up some stairs
-because im oh.so. graceful. 
-ate an entire jar of nutella. 
-it was delicious. 
-took alot of strange pictures. 
-i liked those too. 
-woke up at six am
-immediatly fell back to sleep.
-four hours later. 
-danced my little heart out
-every night.
-talked to my advisors. 
-very very fun people :) 
-dressed up in 80s clothes
-rocked out in the living room
-been very very constructive 
-in that i've readjusted my room no lesss than five times now. 

i think that pretty much covers the important things. post some pictures soon! 

as always 

peace. love. grace

Sunday, October 26, 2008

reflection: from the inside out.

I came here expecting to be strengthened, to be driven. Instead I have been broken, I've wandered, I have been stretched, examined and through it all I have been carried by Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. Last week was my last week with the kids at Kayamandi. All semester we haven't been able to take pictures of the kids and last week was our first and last time to do it. Looking back I can remember being surprised and even a little frustrated about not being able to bring my camera, not being able to capture but reflecting I can see how it allowed me to really focus on the moment. To capture hearts and laughter and memories, to burn these children in my spirit, something my camera would never be able to do. Last friday was our last dinner with my program and in the middle of sixty something plus people, I discovered community. Standing in the middle of a group that five months ago were complete strangers. People that have become friends and fellow travelers in our journey this strange and beautiful land. South Africa, I've discovered is an interesting teacher. The landscape has a way of lodging itself into the mind in such a way that forever ruins you for any other terrain. This country, this continent once you allow it to touch you, brands you, and you are never the same. SA is unconventional and uncomfortable and I think that in that unconventional, in that uncomfortable is where I have grown the most, where my mind and heart have expanded. I think back to my first month here, the excitement, the energy (the cold). I remember the middle months the anger, the confusion, the homesickness and i think of now. The growth, the lessons, the warmth. I've looked at letters from friends and family, emails, packages (even a visit!), the prayers, the words of encouragement slipped into my moments of hopelessness, my moments of emptiness . I've sought and found all sorts of treasures through a different pair of eyes. I have walked in shoes that have left me blistered. I have walked barefoot.  I have seen this space and I have become it. These are the things that have lifted me that have encouraged me.  Friends how faithful is our God. I am where and who I am today because of him. For he himself is our peace and I can now testify to that peace. It brought me here, it has carried me and comforted me. It has revived me. And this friends, is where my joy has been hidden. 

"For though I am absent from you in body, 
I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are
 and how firm your faith in Christ is."

as always. 

peace. love. grace.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

sunshine sunshine everywhere!

Man at the Hermanus Whale Festival
Kids at the Judah Square Settlement
View down the street
Biscuits: our dysfunctional cat
abdul at the beach

jace at J-Bay

abby and me

Sunday, October 12, 2008

all we are...we are.

I know its been awhile. I know I should have some good stories or at the least a good excuse. Sorry. I have neither. I have nothing to describe the moments, the sheer amount of life I've experienced in the last couple of weeks. Desmond Tutu, Catrin, Bobby. October. I haven't had the time to write any of it simply because I've been experiencing it and now I'm still left spinning in the afterglow. Where do I start, what to say-how do I show you the brilliant blue skies and everything that's been growing inside, filling up until there's nowhere else to flow but out. A little less that six weeks and this little heart will be on a flight back across the world. Sorrow mingles with joy mingles with sorrow mingles with joy in this house of cards and I am alive friends. I cannot resist, not today, I am alive. 

-midnight conversations under a beautiful summer moon 
-car rides into the unknown if only for a few hours 
-dancing out frustrations, confusions, and mistakes 
-laughter that echoes long after the sound has passed 
-excitement that renders me speechless 
-beauty mad complete in the knowledge of its Creator 
-being reminded of who I am and finding so. much. more (thank you katrina) 

four seasons and this ones already changing. life continues. I'm still meeting people. still being changed and I breathe. Inhaling and exhaling places and experiences, expectations, memories, disappointments discoveries. I have fallen, crawled and been lifted into grace. Friends, these are my words, this is what I bring to the table... 

"Every good and perfect gift is from above" 

peace. love grace. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

monkeys, cheetahs, and rastas

well my dear faithful followers, i failed to inform you that i would be gone, touring the eastern cape on what is widely known as (drumbeat).... "THE GARDEN ROUTE". For that i apologize. South Africa is now entering what it calls spring, i know, i know, It seems a little backwards to be having spring break in september... but call it what you will, a break is a break. Anyway, i kept a very accurate journal on my little five day safari and i thought i would entertain you all a bit with a look back into spring break south africa part un.....

Day One (saturday Sept. 6th)

no one should ever have to see what 4 am looks like. ever. its just cruel. somehow, by the grace of God, i managed to drag myself out of bed and into the van with my fellow housemates to join the other 9 vans and 52 passengers. for the first time since the shotgun rule was declared, people were fighting for back seats and since no one is coherent at that God-forsaken time, we all looked and sounded like caveman fighting for fresh kill. Thirty minutes and twenty coffees later found our happy little caravan heading through the country, with only the occasional snore and grumble to distract us.

*sidenote* if you ever are able to travel to south africa, please PLEASE travel the country side. it is absolutely breathtaking. Lord of the Rings, Narnia, any of these, SA puts to shame.

so our first stop five hours later is at an ostrich farm. now this might come as a surprise but these birds although stupid are DANGEROUS. they tear a whole in you with their talon and then stomp you to death. after this little introduction its no surprise that the guide got a million hands up when he asked for volunteers to ride the ostrich. i looked around at grown men and women squirming in their seats hands straining in the air, little prayers being uttered from lips and thought these people are crazy. i for one know my mother would not appreciate a letter telling her that her only daughter had died from an ostrich attack. i mean really? there has to be better ways to go. so no i did not ride the ostrich. i did not pass go. i did not collect 200 dollars. but i did enjoy watching as people fell off the ostrich.


we left the ostrich farm and headed to the cango caves. ooooooo. these things are massive. huge. pictures dont do it justice. being the responsible child i am i of course took the adventure route. this is where you get to crawl through little holes and openings in the caves to get to elaborate inner chambers. i mean ostrich's are dangerous a 1ft by 15 inch opening in an underground ancient cave is nothing. so off i went!

Day two

we spent the day at the beach. chilling out maxing relaxing. since South Africa does not believe in opening anything on sundays this is what we spent the majority of the morning doing. The afternoon found us antsy, restless, and bloodthirsty. the leader of our group had promised us a surprise and we wanted it NOW! so once again we piled into the vans and headed off into the jungle, literally, there was no road just a dirt path. and when we arrived i felt like we'd been dropped off at jurrasic park. if you dont believe me look for yourself.

but no it wasn't jurassic park. it was MONKEYLAND!!! chaos everywhere. monkeys over here. monkeys over there. monkeys in your faces. monkeys following you. me following the monkeys. monkeys above you. monkeys shoving food down their throats. big ones, small ones. slow ones. quick ones. there was a bridge we had to cross. talk about seeing indiana jones, I WAS indiana jones!!!

but it only gets better. i JAYDEN/LYNN/STRANGER was in an enclosing with adult cheetahs. (the baby cheetahs came later) now i know what your thinking. you wont ride/pet an ostrich but you not only get in with a cheetah you pet it?!! yes, yes there is no rhyme or reason to it and my mom will probably have a heart attack. i dont know how my brain works but there i was, face to face with the planets fastest animal. a dangerous carnivore. and the first words out of my mouth are "who's a pretty kitty!!!"

Day three

nothing exciting. forty members of my group decided to bungee jump off the worlds highest bridge. the other half went tree canoping. me? i cheered on from a safe but exciting distance. Here's Zach, spiraling into the abyss. as you can see Jacques and Matthew are also looking on contemplating imminent death. watching is just as exciting as jumping- i did watch that fresh prince when hillary's fiancee died bungeeing thank you you very much. and all that for a crummy certificate....pshhhh.

Day four

all you surfers out there. read it and weep. JBAY BABY!!!! surf legends have been born here. standards have been set. boards have been waxed. waves have been tested again and again and ill be the first to tell you that even in the off season Jeffery's Bay definitely lives up to par. being a firm believer in carpe diem, you can bet that i was on the water faster than you can say "kelly slater brahhhhhh."

Days five, six, seven.....

Addo National Park Safari style and...the Rastafarian community-Judah Square. i wish i had words for you.


i pretty much feel accomplished. 

as always...

peace. love. grace : )