Tuesday, September 18, 2012

First Post back

It's 3pm and all is still. The day has just begun to cool down and it feels like it’s just me in the world. A moment of peace with the yellow birds squawking in the peach tree, the chicks in the coop peeping to each other and their hen.  The sky is clear and I can see homesteads on the hills in the distance.  There is a warm, gentle breeze that reminds me of the beach, everything else seems to be resting; even the houses.

Today was the official start of school.  I was anxious to go back after being home (in America), and still feeling like I am getting used to being back.  I tried to get to bed early last night, and as usually happens when I try to get enough sleep, I got hardly any.  I spent the night reading, tossing and turning, hearing strange sounds outside, messaging good friends, anything but sleeping. Until 3:15am, when finally, sleep came. 

This morning I was up late, waking to the sounds of Siboniso and Phinda fixing the fence around the garden.  I had a pounding headache, probably from the small amount of sleep, and the chickens would not shut up.  Ahhh, I’m home.  Despite these things I kept myself calm while getting ready, moving slowly and deliberately, not letting myself feel the pressure of the first day back to school.  I wanted to arrive at school around lunchtime; that way I would be able to visit with both the students and the teachers.  At about half past ten I started making my way to school.  I had my bag loaded with what I thought was my standard school stuff, my new dress on, and clean hair. 

When I arrived at school, it was as if nothing had changed.  There were one or two kids that I am closer with who seemed especially excited to see me, but that was about it.  The teachers were busy preparing themselves lunch and prepping for the national exams later in the term, most of the kids were just standing around eating their lunch as usual, the head teacher was still in his ‘old’ office (even thought he promised me before I left that the library, which is to be located in his ‘old’ office, would be running by the time I got back).  As the bell rang and lunch was wrapping up, teachers and students alike started asking me how long I would be at school today and were there going to be any clubs today.  I realized that I had been anxious for nothing.  It’s a Tuesday, so I don’t have to worry about any clubs, English club is on Monday and Computer club will start on Wednesdays again as soon as we get a new instructor.  It’s not as if I’m a new volunteer starting in the community.  I have done this.  I have made my place here.  I am no longer the exciting new white person at my school.  I am Busisiwe.  This is the first time that I have seen this clearly where I am in my service here, and what I have done in this school and community. This life did not happen to me.  I made it happen.  I choose what I do. 

On that note, now I realize how much work is before me.  No one would say anything, except for maybe Derrick, my host brother, who likes to give me a hard time, if I chose to sit at home and do nothing each day.  But I don’t choose that.  I like English club, and swimming and computer club, and working to start an English and girls club at the high school; I want all of these projects to succeed.

Thank you for all of your support.  It was wonderful to see as many people as I could at home, though I am thinking of many people that I did not get to see, and many that I did not get to spend as much time with as I would have liked.  I appreciate everything that you all do to help keep me going here.  I did not realize how much we have done.