Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I have tried to keep a lot of the negative experiences of South Africa for the most part out of our blog. I have tried to keep my posts pretty upbeat for the most part to give readers a positive view of our lives here. But not today.

I am so tired of being made fun of, stared at, laughed at, talked about, sexually harassed, being told I am fat, that I need to sweep the floor, that I am a lazy wife, etc. I am tired of being sick. I am so tired of people (at some organizations) treating each other like dirt. Yelling at each other, not listening to what the other is saying. I am tired of doing a job which I have very little training or experience in. I am tired of blatant corruption, discrimination, poverty, racism, sexism. I do realize that these things happen all over the world and that I am lucky enough to be able to see and live in another culture, but today...I am just plain tired.

I feel like I am such a different person here. More frazzled,brittle, more unsure of myself. Somedays it takes all of my willpower to leave the house. I know I am growing and learning so much, I just hope that it does not leave me bitter and broken.

Today I meditated for the first time in my life and it was wonderful. I have been doing yoga for a few years but have always been intimidated by meditation. I have a hard time stopping my thoughts in a regular setting, but while meditating it has seemed impossible. Today was a good experience, and meditating is a powerful tool that I will continue to use.

I am working on one of the most important lessons that I will encounter in social work-learning how to set emotional boundaries. I am so affected by the pain that I see here that sometimes I am less able to function. It simply makes me so sad. I am learning how to be effective in the lives of the people around me without making their pain my own. If I carry everyones pain around all of the time, I will lose myself and ability to empathize with others. As my friend Ronda says "this is boot camp." The aspects of life that I thought would be difficult (not having running water, etc.) really bear little weight in my thoughts and days. The aspects that are the most difficult for me by far is to see so much pain and not even know where to begin.

There are still many wonderful aspects of being in South Africa. I have been given such an amazing opportunity to live and work in another world and I have met people who will stay in my heart forever.

Lots of love.