South Africa: Chapter 2

Monday, February 6, 2012

Skirt:  Anthro Field 
Shirt: ZARA
Flats: Steve Madden Heaven
Jacket: LOFT
Bag: Fossil
Flower Pins: J. Crew
Rural South African villages...potted, dusty roads, wandering cattle, mud slab homes, asparagus fields on either side.  We stop to talk to the children and share the candy hidden in our bags.  They have questions for us.
Do you like the United States?  
What's your favorite food?
Do you have children?
Have you seen Santa Claus?
What games do you like to play?
Do you eat a lot of meat?
How do you like South Africa?
Will you come back?
It's always humbling to visit other countries and have the children speak to you in English.  We Americans are so catered to, no?  We never have to work to have people understand us. These children chant melodies in both Zulu and English with beautiful, strong voices.  
And of course, once the camera comes out, it's a mad scramble to get in front of the lens.  They live in mud houses with dirt floors and one light (if that) in a room. They are eager, ready with a smile to be seen and heard. I show them pictures of my own children--so different from them, yet so the same.  I am close enough to hug them--but not close enough to grasp the full picture of their lives.
My mind and heart are full.  I hold my eyes wide open, unwilling to miss the smallest expression on their interesting faces and am blinded by the beauty of them--these children living in a country where their life expectancy is thirty age.
A part of me is torn.  Why do I spend so much time grumbling and not enough time living? Why should I not always smile?  What exactly is my problem, anyway? What excuse do I have?
We sit on on the ground in this land where poverty resides across the street from wealth. One of the older children chants another song in a language foreign to me, but I can tell from the light in her eyes that it is a happy song.
I came here to touch a life and was touched by the children instead.

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  1. Kristina-What precious children! I am sure you will probably be telling us, but I am so curious as to what your goal was in visiting. I hope these kids weren't orphaned by aids. It is sad enough that they are poor; I do not want them to be parent-less too.

    1. We mainly went to help the locals organize the mission school and help with repairs around the property. As far as I know, the children in this post were not orphans...though some might have been.

  2. Wow, I did not know their life expectancy was 30. These children are beautiful, love the profile pictures. I think it's easy to take a lot of things for granted without realizing it. Sometimes I have to remind myself...ok..I never have to go hungry, I have a place to live, a job, and my family is in good health, I'm pretty lucky! :)

  3. Kristina, I love this post and your words: "I came here to touch a life and was touched by the children instead."

    My husband and I had a similar experience in Cambodia. It changed us forever.

    Looking forward to seeing more pictures and hearing more about your journey.


  4. I'm so touched by your post today. The children are so beautiful and I can see so much hope in their eyes. Thank you for sharing this with us Kristina. btw I love your look super pretty wherever you are!!

  5. One's eyes open wider when we view how another person lives when it is different to our own. I went on a fly and build with my parents to Vanuatu as a child... the simplicity of the way they live touched something in me. I still want to go back (Hubby has, I had to stay home). Isn't it incredible when you go to bless someone and you are blessed yourself instead?

  6. Both you and the children are gorgeous - I love seeing these pics! And of course, I can't not comment on your lovely, casual outfit :)

    The Other Side of Gray

  7. I always enjoy your posts, but these from your trip are sure the best so far!

  8. beautiful thoughts and pictures from your trip...


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