Sunday, November 18, 2012


"Africa is never the same to anyone who leaves it and returns again."
Beryl Markham, West with the Night

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i knew when i left swaziland things would be different when i returned. bulembu has changed. a daycare that i imagined has now come and gone. but now, she is gone too.
and now, the thought of returning makes my heart ache. without her, i feel like i will be a visitor again rather than one returning home. i feel i will be starting over, a wide-eyed white girl who has to prove herself. without her, i feel that swaziland is irreparably changed for me.
but more than how swaziland will change, i wonder how life here will change.
i worry that without her telling me she can't afford the CT scan she needs, i'll take for granted the health care dollars i consume to get the right medications and see specialized doctors and monitor my blood levels.
i worry that without knowing she needs new shoes, i might buy the shoes i want without thinking.

but most, i worry that without her, the hundreds of thousands of women in sub-saharan africa who fight HIV will become a nameless, faceless mass. i need her stories. i need to know there are days she can't lift her head and the nearest hospital is a 3-mile walk followed by a 15-mile bus ride away. i need to remember the hungry children she so beautifully cared for. i need her so that my heart stays soft, so that i continue to pray and give, so i don't forget how much bigger the world is than just me.  


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