When we first moved to the farm, there was a certain peaceful offering about the beauty, serenity, and constant peace and quiet of where we live. The only interruption we faced was that of the sound of the frequent rain coming down on our tin roof, a sound we have now become accustomed to, and which continues to bring me peace as I go to sleep each night.
I have been reflecting over the past few days about our time here and how much things have changed in less than 3 weeks since I first arrived. I have become increasingly aware of how much my environment here has affected me, and am convinced this morning that this is due, in part, to the incredible isolation we face here. In nearly three weeks, I have only left my home for something not work-related one time: to go shopping for some basic needs such as groceries - and even that trip was only possible because our landlord saw our need for such things and volunteered to drive us. Without his help, we would likely not have even been given that much “freedom.”
The road we live on is far from most civilization, at least for those who don’t have their own vehicle. Without paying a small fortune for a private taxi, we would have to walk 15K just to get to the nearest road with taxis (which even there only come hourly), making it impossible for us to get anywhere other than to and from the office - the hours of which are often extra long because we do not have a ride home in the evenings. We are told we can ask and borrow Mama’s extra car if we need/want to go someplace, but on the few occasions we have tried to do so, we have been told no and reminded that it is not our car. All of this is to say that the 3 of us - Rachel, Hannah and I - are feeling a bit cooped up in our farm house, where our phones only work in certain rooms and we don’t have internet to assist us with our efforts to stay connected with the outside world.
This has proven to be a great challenge, especially with the tragedy and heartache of the past two weeks (i.e. Haiti, losing Sam and Clint). We all long to be connected with people we know, and who deeply know us, beyond the perimeters of our home; I long for active relationships in my life that move beyond my home and workplace. For my own well being, I long to be independent, having a personal (social) life and time to myself to process and reflect. I want to be an individual beyond the identity of my roommates, who I love but from whom I am very different and also need time away from. This doesn’t even get into the challenges and frustrations I face in regard to the gossip and deteriorating language I cannot escape from some of the persons I am expected to (and want to) to respect the most, but whose words and actions make that increasingly difficult for me.
Since moving to South Africa, I have mostly only written about how great my time here has been - and it has. I am indeed still loving my work and (most of) my time here, and surely will write again soon about the many exciting things going on here at SHADE. However, I also want to be honest in the ways I am in need of prayer and support right now. Truthfully, I am confident that one day I will look back and think just that as I miss this life, these people and this small town in which so many people I love live. I will think about the many ways I have grown and learned from this time here in Walkerville. Someday, I will do all of these things. For now, though, I am moving one day at a time, walking humbly forward with the God I know has called me, and listening to the Derek Webb’s song A New Law playing in the background telling me, “do not be afraid…” as I reach out for an extra word of prayer for patience, strength, discernment and peace in the days to come.