So here I sit, in my pumpkin, thinking about everything. What an experience I have had in the last two months. I have journeyed across the world to this amazing country where I have met many incredible people both American and South African. I fell in love with this country practically from the first step off the plane. I was greeted with smiles and “hello how was your flight” my response was long! 44 of us began down a journey with nothing more than we could carry and a hope that we in some way would change the world. This belief is the idealistic part of all of us in the Peace Corps and I would like to think that everyone has some part of them that wants to change the world. For me this journey as exemplified by the quote I literally carry with me everywhere; “Be the change we wish to see in the world” ~Gandhi. The best way to learn is to do and boy have I learned by doing here. I have learned a new language completely different from any other, I have learned about the South African culture and the spirit of Umbuntu, I have learned about myself and what I am willing to compromise on, I have learned the spirit and the soul can be seen in a smile. Most importantly I have learned the true meaning of kindness, this I found in my two South African families who willingly and graciously opened their homes and their hearts to me, a stranger who is from a different country and is learning about the life of a South African family. Kindness is also seen in the staff during PST and their concern for all of us was something that amazed me. I have made friends here that I will carry with me where ever I go. Friends who would travel more than hour to see you when you are having doubts, friends who are genuinely concerned when you say you are hurt or sick. These are people who exemplify characteristics which some only wish to portray. I feel so blessed to have been apart of this process and to be a part of the amazing group that is SA-18. I will dearly miss you and I have taken a lot from you. Thank you for continuing on the journey.
This morning I came to a decision that was hard for me, because of the love I have for this country and the people I have met. The decision was not one I took lightly and I have thought about it a great deal. I will be leaving Peace Corps South Africa within the next week. I have decided to resign my post as a member of SA-18. I talked with my APCD this morning and she is helping to organize my departure. I came here with the hopes of changing the lives of people and intern I had my life changed. I take with me the true spirit of kindness and of hope for it was shown and exemplified to me every day I was here. While I am sad to leave the friends who for the last 2 months I have considered my family, I am excited to begin the next part of my life. I will be going back to school in January to work on a second degree. So the title of my blog Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude is accurate..my attitudes about things have changed and grown. The importance of compassion and kindness is immeasurable.
This is something I wrote yesterday and truly believe that my journey here was a success. I was successfully integrated into my South African family and I learned lessons which I will take with me for the rest of my life.
The search for contentment, fulfillment and self
Takes a woman a thousand miles
She travels on the winds of change
Carrying with her a torch of hope
Learning along the way the truth
Of kindness, compassion and faith
Believing she stands up
For herself, for others, and her ideals
She fights those who doubt her
Simply by just living
She knows the fight she fights
Has no winner or loser
For victory is not measured by winning
Victory is seen in her eyes, in her heart, and in her spirit
She set out to change the world
Only to have the world change her instead
~To everyone out there who supported me in my decision to join the Peace Corps thank you from the bottom of my heart!
~To my South African “Family”---you taught me so many wonderful things and I will always stay in touch and remember you. THANK YOU!!