Today, ladies and gentleman, was the day we have all been waiting for.
For today, my faithful friends, was a glorious day.
It was the day… that shan’t be forgotten.
T’was the day…
When service sites began!!! Haaaaaalelujah! Halelujah!
AH! The day of expectation!!!!
Actually, I had prided myself on not having any expectations for the service sites. “I am going in with a clean slate! I am a white board ready to be drawn on! A blank canvas ready to be colored!”
Today when my expectations were totally, utterly, and completely demolished, I realized that indeed, I did have expectations.
(In isiZulu, the phrase “bad foot” is like shoot, darn, snap, sad day, etc.)
For the next four weeks, I will be serving at Ethembeni with the lovely Karissa, phenomenal Lindsay, irreplaceable Tyler, angel Shayna, and wonderful Aimee. What a team!
We began by writing down our goals for our four weeks at Ethembeni. What is awesome is that we have mostly the same goals! Convenient? I think so!
I love supervisor Claire. She’s from England! Claire has requested that whenever I am around her, I use my English accent because it is “so good it’s scary” and she misses hearing people talk like her. You don’t need to ask a theatre major twice to practice an accent!
At lunch time, all of the Ethembeni staff gathered. Out of nowhere, they began singing! In four part harmonies!
This was the moment I realized, this is where I belong! I finally get to live in a musical! SO glorious.
One of my friends has often asked me, “What is your favorite sound you’ve ever heard?” I didn’t have an answer for her. But now I do. Hearing Africans randomly burst into worship songs is definitely the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. Not only are their voices lovely, but their hearts shine. They don’t sing songs like we do. They suddenly sing music that is on their mind right at that moment, and sing it from their hearts! They believe what they are singing! It is such a worshipful experience. I love it.
Each of us at Ethembeni are paired with one social worker in order to get to know the community. My social worker is very sweet, and quite quiet. Her English is about as extensive and polished as my isiZulu. Ahem.
That is going to be a serious challenge. She won’t talk unless I ask her questions, because she is so shy! Unfortunately, she doesn’t understand the words “how” or “what.” So… it’s a lot of me pulling out my extensive isiZulu.
This is hilarious because in isiZulu, we only learned how to make conversation about the garden and the kitchen. My teacher thought that would be the most practical. And work-wise, it is! We will be doing a lot of helping in the garden and the kitchen. But, my vocabulary is still very limited! Of course, however, what can you expect after a month of a brand new language?
My winner sentences:
Uthanda yimba imigodi? You like to dig holes?
Uyakwazi ukupeka iqanda? Do you know how to cook eggs?
Ngithanda izimbali. I like flowers.
As you can see, I’m practically fluent now.
When the kids arrived at Ethembeni in the afternoon, they taught me a beautiful lesson.
I want to have the love of a child.
The love of a child is quite extraordinary. Children blindly and fearlessly love. They don’t care who you are! They don’t care what you look like, what you do, or where you’ve been. They simply love you and want to be held and cared for.
That is the love of Christ! I need to love people simply because they are children of God, and that is enough. I want to love as Christ loves me. I am going to live life with the attitude of you need love and I’m going to give it to you.
That’s what I want my life to be about.
There was one boy in particular that I am in love with! He was about 8 years old, and he was wearing a yellow Batman shirt. Obviously great. For thirty minutes, all he wanted to do was play with my hands. I have never seen a sweeter smile!
I wanted to ask him if he had parents. Because if he didn’t I was going to take him home. Unfortunately, I only know how to say, Ngithanda ifosholo. Or, I like shovels. (I am kidding! I wouldn’t really take him home!)
On the way home, I got to be the DJ, as I was sitting in the front seat. We all rocked out to A Walk to Remember. Priceless.
I get to go on a retreat tomorrow with the Ethembeni team! I am so excited!