Choice is always there for us, in every moment, every mood, every action. So its not that feeling a bit blue is what holds me back, its how I choose to respond to it and for how long. So I made a choice to honor the part of me that feels afraid, held back, heavy, stuck, or whatever it is and to give it some love. After I gave it some love by acknowledging it and talking to it with kindness in my journal I decided how I was going to feel and then made it happen. Its not that I can just put on a happy face, mood or attitude but I can choose to do things that help me move more towards feeling lighter, more joyful, and happy. I realized that I was in Culture shock and needed to give myself what I have been resisting since I arrived out of fear of not having an “authentic experience” – white people things! I am a Canadian, I have lived in North America all my life and Africa is very, very different so when I finally saw the importance of giving myself something familiar, it made a world of difference. I went to the fancy Hotel Serena to be around English speaking people, white people, a beautiful pool and washrooms with TP and hand soap! Then diner out at Meze Fraishe (I Am Fresh!) which is an American owned Mexican restaurant with delicious food and very friendly staff! I felt so much better, relieved almost knowing that these things are here for me when I need them. I also went to the Movies and saw “The Heat” which was awful but it was the familiarity I was after not the entertainment.
Yesterday I went with my friend Leonard (the one who I met at the Sauna and whose wife I helped apply for a job in Canada) to an orphanage by his house. I knew it wouldn’t be as straight forward as I would like getting there so I surrendered to the 5 hour journey there and back, stopping in peoples homes, his local businesses and finally the Misericordia Orphanage. I asked specifically about small babies and young children of which there were only 5, all other kids had been moved to another branch in Cyangugu. The babies and children were paraded out to me all dressed in nice clothes and again, I was handed babies to hold!. It was wonderful to be able to hold them, touch them and let them explore my body with their curious little fingers.
As I held each one I was told of their stories which were horrific. To hear that all 5 of them had been “thrown”, literally meaning thrown away just hours or days after birth to be found by local people who brought them to the orphanage (one of them in a graveyard) was sad to say the least, I am still finding words for how I feel about it all. On top of that some of them had HIV as well. At first glance these babies and young ones look fairly healthy and well cared for but when I look and listen more carefully I see that they are not. It is not a sign of a healthy child to just sit or stand and not make any noise, just be there. As much as we want kids in North America to sit still and behave which is what these kids did extremely well, it is not healthy behavior. They had no spark, no life, no inquisitive looks, no toys, no creative expression and it appeared no stimulation in the form of toys, colors or books. So I asked what I could do to help and was directed towards the larger orphanage in town which is connected to this one as well to talk to the director. I see how I can offer at least something new for them to experience and possibly introduce them to hoola hoops, toys, maybe swimming at the pool. I know I have something to offer them and I saw how much they needed even just a loving touch. I see that my heart wants to open up in this way, to these children and that there is healing here for both parties.
So today as I continue to process all I experienced in this short visit as well as what it is I am meant to do here, I was kind and gentle with myself and once again found myself near the water. I was having a massage when a flash of insight came to me about next steps. I know what I love and I know what makes me feel good – Dance and Micheal Jackson. I was able to bring it back to what is already here for me, what has already presented itself to me in terms of what I can do. I can dance. I can teach “Thriller” for Thrill the World and I have made a few connections with locals that feel good. So backing up to what originally brought me to Africa in the first place and seeing how I can put that into action lead me to realize I can give back by using MJ as my guide, once again!
My plan as of today is to continue to inquire about kids, schools, locals, white people who want to learn and participate in “Thrill the World” by learning the choreography and use the money I obtain to help buy some equipment for the local swim instructors I have been helping, as well as help Gilbert (the local traditional dance teacher who teaches kids for free) afford to buy costumes and have a place to teach dance. My big goal would be to help bring Gilbert to Santa Barbara to teach a workshop on East AFrica dance, which is what he would love to do. So how does this fit into me not being ready to do big things?…….well, this is already here for me, this is what I love to do – dance to MJ and it provides a vehicle for me to do that and to share it with others with a by product of helping people with financial energy (money) I acquire through doing so. Again this is just a way of me taking a step towards something and it can change in an instant if it needs to. So far I have three places to teach, good feedback on it being popular and motivation for being here! Good things are revealed – out of the blue!