As tears run down my face on the drive away from Ikhayalethemba, I began to wonder about my life and my purpose here in South Africa. When I first signed up for this opportunity, I was determined to expand my horizon and my perspective; little did I know that my entire life’s been changed forever.
There’s this one kid whom I grew extremely close to in the past 2 weeks. We will call him Nick. He was not behaving well this morning when we were doing “circle time” where we sit around in a circle and sing songs together, so I refused to read books to him. Oh, the things I’d give up for another chance to read Franklin stories or have him sit in my lap and sing Tiny Tim the Turtle.
How do I just move on to the rest of my life without seeing these angels who’ve been my entire life for these past two weeks? How do I persuade myself to not drop everything I have and just stay here with these kids forever because I’ve grown to love them so much? How do I continue to go on with my days without hearing their innocent laughters throughout Ikhayalethemba?
I know I shouldn’t focus on the things that I will lose, but accepting the fact that I literally will not be able to see these kids’ angelic smiles again is a knife to my heart.
I looked back as they waved goodbye. Because we are not allowed to take pictures of the children, I want to try as hard as I can to remember their faces forever.
However, I can’t begin to hope for the same for them. At the end of the day, it’s not my face or my name that I want them to remember. It’s the colors that we’ve learned, the alphabets and the numbers, and how to write their names that will really advance them with their lives. I just hope that I have made a positive influence on their lives; that would be the most rewarding thing in the world.
ps. I had butterfly face paint on while I was crying on the ride home. I looked so ridiculous.