Heart Ripples

My Own Back Yard- Settling into my South African Home

November 7, 2013
Dzanani, Limpopo
“I’ll never wander any further than my own backyard” (Dorothy. Wizard of Oz).

That’s exactly where I wandered today. When greeting strangers passing by, I was surprised by a familiar face.

Maititsi is the sweet Zimbabwean who does my laundry on Saturdays. Her name means, “God’s Mess.” I’ve been concerned that my weekends have not allowed me the time to get to know her. Today was our day. She took me by the hand and led me to her one room home, in the middle of a mountain range, with the most stunning sunset I’ve seen in Africa. I had no idea my own backyard was this celestial!

Maititsi, the sweet Zimbabwean who does my laundry on Saturdays. She is carrying home the day's purchase the African way, hands free, with impressive balance, as she hikes over rocky mountain terrain on her way home.

Maititsi, the sweet Zimbabwean who does my laundry on Saturdays. She is carrying home the day’s purchase the African way, hands free, with impressive balance, as she hikes over rocky mountain terrain on her way home.

 

Despite her living conditions, she offers to buy ME “cool drink” while we visit. Maititsi is learning English from me as she teaches me Shona (indigenous language of Zimbabwe), while we communicate in Tshivenda. She works 7 days a week paying college tuition for her 3 children. She is also building a house on her own! There are just no words…

Walking home with the biggest smile I’ve ever smiled, I turn around every couple minutes to look at the sunset behind the mountains on which I stand, asking myself “Is this real…am I dreaming?” Then a young boy rushes to his gate to inspect me…to see if he’s dreaming…a white person at his doorstep. I greet him in Tshivenda, and he asks me, “U bva gai?”

“America.”

“Wooooow!” The excitement in his whisper gives me goosebumps as I stand there having sweat entirely through my clothes on this 100 degree day.

“You’ll see me again!” I tell him. We stay suspended in our smiles for a minute before I run home to beat the dusk.

You know what, I would be lying to tell you this was even the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd crazy beautiful thing that happened today that has never before happened in my life.

My cup overflows. Gratitude

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