Further Insight on the Power of Storytelling
As I sit down to write my last blog I am humbled that this month in SA has come and gone so quickly. This blog, although a bit inaccessible and even bothersome at times, has been an incredible outlet to share the thoughts and experiences of SA with myself and all of you! So once again, thank you all for your constant support and interest in our journey.
We have just returned to the Backpacker's Ritz for our final night of sleep. We visited the famous Market Theatre today and were fortunate enough to see the play "The Suitcase." We returned not an hour ago and the buzz from the show is still alive in the hearts and minds of all of us.
The show followed the life of a black couple trying to make it in the city, during apartheid during the 1960/70s. The joys and plight of the couple were equally shared with the audience in a little more than an hour. What struck me the most was the final theme shared by both the supporting actors. They reminded the audience that although the play has nothing short of a tragic ending that life moves on. This idea is a common theme thoroughout countless works of art and has been reiterated time and time again. This theme differed however. It suggested that we ought educate ourselves and one another with the stories of the past so we can learn, educate others and in essence come to peace with the injustice we feel life has dealt us.
As this South African adventure is coming to a close, I have asked myself what has happened following apartheid? What has changed here? Much has changed here. Although I will have countless stories for you about developed and Africa-stereotype defying the major cities are and how unique and glorious the native African communities remain...South Africa has undergone a social change in a way no other place has or will. They have this beautiful passion to share their story. As a people: white, black, coloured, poor, homeless, tour-guide or busdriver; they recognize their internal need to be with one another. Individuals want people at the center of their life not themselves. There is a recognition that sharing yourself, your life, your story with another is all you have. WE ARE NOT HERE ON THIS PLANET ALONE! American's glued to their palms, iPods, computers, XBOXs could take some notes.
This power of storytelling paves the way to peace. Peace with your self, ideas and being. The verbal and non-verbal sharing, communicating with other people opens the door for honesty with others and yourself. It can relax your shoulders, it can make life more enjoyable. I have found that SA is not perfect. There are years and years to go before the fallout of apartheid will fully discipate. However, they have changed. They have helped heal themselves and each other by sharing their feelings about the past, present and future. They love to talk, to walk through the wilderness, to watch the sunset, to have a braai or potjie and drink and have no expectation about what time you eat. Being with one another and sharing in one another's humanity is embraced.
It is so hard to put into words. That is the ultimate beauty of it. They talk of an idea, a morale: UBUNTU. "My humanity is unavoidably bound and interwoven in yours and all people." So much of the understanding this idea is just being. Sitting, listening, crying, smiling. The willingness to be open, honest and truthful with everyone is liberating to one's self and the world. As much as I have tried, you can't put it into words. You cannot teach this feeling. A feeling that urges your to challenge, question and explore life. This feeling that beckons you to forgive, to love and to create. You must learn it through experience, through the heart and through others.
This experience to SA has been a whirlwind of emotion. If you have made it this far in the blog and intend to hear of this trip when I get home, I ask of you only one thing. DO NOT ask me "how was it?" I will only look at you with a blank face. There has been too much. Avoid the pleasantry if you really actually CARE about my experience and what you can presume it meant. I ask for you patience and willingness to take a few moments to free your mind and I will tell you anything you want to hear.
I am so grateful for this group. As I type, they are emotionally sharing and unloading with one another. What an experience. This opportunity to share such life-changing day in and day out experiences with 20 of my peers is unbelieveable. I am so excited to see how these SA relationship manifest in and hopefully outside of the Lutedome. We have created a unique and strong web. I know I will give all I can to make sure these ties remain and provide a continual network for all of us.
Life changing experineces cannot be summed into words. Nonetheless, thank you for humoring me with this blog. I await our coffee dates, our dinners and our lives to share these moments with each other. Your hearts have been with me throughout this adventure and I hope my documentation has shown you a side of me changed by South Africa, changed by story-telling and changed by love.
Once again, thank you all for your patience and continual suppport. I will see you soon.