Saturday, June 9, 2012

End of an Era

As most of you know, last month David and two of his brothers took to the road for an incredible journey to Juba, South Sudan. Sick of only hearing negative news about Africa, they began a project called Letters to Juba and will drive through nine countries talking to people - politicians, teachers, artists, bus drivers, activists, gardeners - gathering letters of encouragement, advice, and innovative ideas for development of the world’s newest country. When they arrive in Juba, they will aim to begin 5 grassroots organizations based off of ideas they received on the trip, and they will compile the letters and information into a formal report to show some head hanchos in Juba. It’s important that the leaders of South Sudan look to the past in order to avoid major pitfalls of corruption and poverty that have seized other African nations. 

They’ve just recently made it to Mozambique after major car trouble, but they’re posting inspiring letters and photos of their trip to their facebook page and their website. If you’re African, let them know what you think about their project, the development of South Sudan, or what innovative ideas have helped out your community the most. And if you’re not African, words of support always leave warm fuzzies!

This project has been amazing to follow so far, and even though it meant the end of something special, I see it as a sacrifice to the bigger picture. I had been helping David with the project for so long that when it finally took flight, it was a bittersweet symbol of the end of my own trip. The overwhelming presence of final exams allowed me to avoid feeling anything for several weeks, but now that those are over, reality is all up in my grill. It’s surreal to think that I flew here 11 months ago and it’s already over. Cape Town has changed me fundamentally, structurally, and it’s difficult to think about leaving when coming back seems like a pipe dream. It’s difficult to think about leaving when I feel as though I could lose it all by flying away. It’s just difficult to think about leaving, really. This year, I’ve become the woman I have always wanted to be, and I have never been happier in my life. The prospect of losing that is terrifying.

It is this newfound happiness, however, that propels me to search for my next adventure because, I guess I just love the way the world changes you when you let it. I came here blank and empty, and I’m leaving whole, full of the ineffableness of traveling, of places and cultures that cannot be summed up neatly. Full of the images that no cameras captured and the sounds that no one listens to. 
The last few days have been a circus of last meals, final tours, goodbyes and see you later’s. Some of us are lucky enough to see these faces back on our home campuses, while others might only be remembered through photos and annual nostalgia. But either way, we all know that Cape Town has left us with more than memories. And the things that we felt as we stood here together will be the invisible threads that tie us to each other for the rest of our lives. 

Live happily,

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Katy for sharing your beautiful words. I think that your perspective is precious and I hope that your experience of Cape Town, South Africa and Africa in the moments that were captured - and those that weren't, will always fill you with as much joy as you have shared with those you have met throughout this year. I wish you all of the best for all of your future (ad)ventures.

    My very best wishes to you,