“Trust in God, but tie your camel...” (Cape Town Wrap-Up!)
What a fitting way to conclude my time in Cape Town - an insightful Uber ride to the airport. This time the driver wasn’t a immigrant or refugee, but a South African that relocated to Cape Town as a result of apartheid. He was well spoken, educated and talked about the injustice of apartheid, the love of family, pride for his kids and the importance of his Muslim faith. His parents moved from Johannesburg when he was a lad as the government was taking back what they deemed to be valuable land - without any form of payment. They were fortunate in that they were classified as Indian so they were still able to purchase property and landed in Bo-Kaap which was (and still is) home to the Muslim community of Cape Town. I asked about his religion and the hate that it promulgates around the world, and and he countered with the importance of love. He said, “We are taught, if you love one person, it’s as if you love the whole world. If you kill one person, it’s as if you kill the whole world.” We went on to talk about 911 and how the media and fear has influenced misguided hate for his people. Heavy sigh.
I feel compelled to kinda’ wrap up my wild ride with the Cape Town health care system. The final colonoscopy and CT scan seems to be most aptly defined by the old Arab phrase “Trust in God, but tie your camel.” The procedures were the tether to western medicine and peace of mind for my daughters, parents, family and friends and yet they did create a bit of anxiety in that “I know I’m healing,” but what if the tests don’t confirm that...?? Whew....
So, the results... to make a l o n g story short, my colonoscopy was ok and the CT scan of my small intestine showed virtually no improvement. Shit.That unexpected phone call from the surgeon sent shivers up my spine, as I was convinced there’d be huge improvement. However, the pain is gone and my energy level has returned! I believe the progress was in the stopping of the crazy decline of my gut and now its time for it to repair. Spiritual healers in Bali anyone??
The smell of blooming jasmine will always remind me of spring in Cape Town, just as the scent of orange blossoms will always remind me of springtime in Seville and visiting my oldest!
And I want to share my Cape Town volunteer experience, as it truly was a unique and meaningful adventure. In a nutshell, this nonprofit combined three elements into one start up. Women love to craft in South Africa. They make colorful tile mosaics, create sun catchers out of beautiful beads, paint creative images on totes... And Capetonians have a strong coffee culture, so by combing a retail crafting DIY space and a cafe along with the hiring of young people with disabilities, you have one cool nonprofit!
I have had very limited experience in being around people with Downs Syndrome and other disabilities, so this was yet another amazing heart opening experience. The young people were witty and kind, and I had the wonderful experience of sitting around the table having after noon tea with the staff roaring with laugher. Some had very limited vocabulary, but could express themselves with body language and facial expressions that needed no interpreting!
The goal is to equip the young people with skills and confidence so they can then find jobs beyond Lucy G!
And the parents... The caregiving is not without its challenges, often times 24/7 and few resources are available to help these families which has made many of these parents resilient, resourceful and loving. And while I was there the organization was awarded a couple of grants providing much needed financial stability and credibility!! Being part of this team has been an amazing experience on so many levels... Grateful.
And I never expected that it would be in this country where I would learn to be more comfortable in my own skin from experiences that just unfolded.... I was invited to an all women’s sweat lodge (yes, a Native American thing) which found me along with 20 other women crawling out at the end naked, drenched and totally unaware and unconcerned about our nakedness before plunging into a cooling pool. Another day found me at a workout facility sitting in the steam room naked with other women carrying on easy conversations. Why don’t we do more of this in the US? Just wondering...
I ended many days walking the dogs of my hosts in Tokai Forest where indigenous edible flowers lined the path. I ate my fill of nasturtiums, and my mouth watered in anticipation as I lifted peppery blossoms to my mouth.
Thank you South Africa................