That is me!! I am stuck on something that I cannot wrap my mind around. I must say that today one year ago I stepped foot on a soil that was much different then American soil. I stepped in the heart and soul of South Africa. South Africa is the largest country in the world affected by HIV. 10,000 die daily. The numbers continue to grow on a daily basis. I am reminded by this journey though my journal.
My first entry starts out like this. “We arrived in Johannesburg this morning and were greeted by Brian, Molly and Jason. First, we arrived at the airport and instantly I knew we were in a foreign place. We had to go through passport control and customs. I noticed as we were in the airport how the shops had R’s next to everything, which is their currency. Rand is their currency. Molly took us to place where we could exchange our American dollar for Rand. At any point, the currency exchange can go up or down.
As we departed the airport, I realized we were driving on the left side of the road, which is really the right side and that Jason was driving the steering wheel, which is on right side of the car, instead of the left. That was confusing at first. We arrived at Vox, ate and then had a brief meeting.
We were being debriefed on our first visit to a township, which is basically the slums. We arrived in Fintown, which is basically where children and families live who are poor, sick or dying. They live in tiny little shacks and they are wearing the most dirtiest clothes, but somehow are so incredibly happy. It is odd to see happy children who have nothing. The hardest was seeing the piles of filth and trash, but realizing that no one was going to pick it up. The stench was awful and could be smelled from miles away.
Something else that I had a hard time adjusting to was the fact that this little boy was wearing shoes, but his big toes was so big that it was sticking out. His feet were too small for the shoes. Shoes are considered elite in this country, which is very different from US.
I could go on from this first journal post, but was interesting for me is how stuck I really am. I think about my trip so much and wonder if others are profoundly impacted by the situation that I see over there. I know that people have offered their ideas to me about sending money over to help, but I don’t feel that I am connecting or building a relationship with someone. I want to build deep meaningful relationships that have a profound impact on people…
I am stuck!!
First picture on South Africa's soil! :)