A few weeks ago I was in Johannesburg with Charity, one of the women I work with in Limpopo. She is one of the candidates we are considering for the manager position so this was her time to see what happens in the main office and meet with some people on this side. The week was amazing, filled with orchestra and choir concerts, a talent show and a random trip to the airport. The mansion/city experience was completely new to her so it was fun to spend the week as roommates and observe how she took it all in. When asked what she wanted to see while she was in Joburg, she thought about it for a moment and then said the airport. A few strange looks were exchanged but eventually a plan was made and off we went. We walked all around, took some pictures and randomly ran into Tanya and her mother as she was catching her flight back to the states. I’m not sure she realized how much work is done when I go to Joburg but she got a taste of it. She worked hard, gave a speech to the Roedean girls, and by the end of the week, I could see that she understood a lot more about Phedišang and the operations at the main office. She definitely came out of her shell by the end of her stay and I felt a special bond with her. One of my favorite moments with her was jumping with her on the trampoline – it was her first time and she loved it. To hear her laugh so freely and uninhibited was great.
Then my friend Kristen came up for the weekend. Friday night, after Kristen finally made it to the house and we had a nice dinner, Leigh (aka Dad) dropped us off in Melville at the bars at 11 pm and we proceeded to stay out dancing till 5 am. Yes ladies and gentlemen, after the first bar and getting a few drinks in our system to loosen us up, we danced for almost 4 hours straight. I was in absolute heaven – I just don’t get to dance enough these days! And our goal of paying for as few drinks as possible was achieved – the men just couldn’t get enough of these two blondes. Little did they know that they weren’t going to get much out of the exchange but some quality bar conversation but we just didn’t bother ourselves worrying about their problems. We danced and drank and had ourselves a good time. The rest of the weekend was filled with shopping, movies, good eats, pool time and just catching up on everything. We hadn’t seen each other since October so we were overdue for some good quality time!
After the week/end filled with lots of people and activities, I was sort of sad about going back to the village. I was happy to go back and see my friends and do work but I wasn’t looking forward to going back to the lonely nights. As fortune would have it, I met a couple of Americans on the bus ride back to Tzaneen. Mina and Brenden were doing some work in the Tzaneen area and needed some help navigating through the city. They were going to couch surf and after I showed them the internet café, we parted ways with plans to see each other the next day. After I went and did a little grocery shopping, I arrived at the taxi rank just as the taxi filled up and was completely disappointed that I had to wait for the next taxi to fill. Then the rank guy comes up to me and says a black woman and white man were looking for me – I was completely confused when Mina and Brenden walked up. They decided to go out on a limb and see if they could come and get the village experience for the night – I was so excited because I had thought about inviting them to stay but felt a bit shy since I had just met them. They waited it out with me while the taxi too forever to fill. We ended up getting back to Turkey after it was completely dark so it was good we were all together. Even though my room is small, 3 people can actually fit quite comfortably and so it worked out well.
They were open to whatever I had to do so they came with me to Turkey centre and then walked all over the place to visit people and go to the post office. They only stayed the night because they had a meeting in Tzaneen and then Mina had to get back to Johannesburg to fly back to the states. Brenden was actually staying a bit longer so he came back and spent a few more days in the village. We ended up having some really great discussions and it became evident that there were reasons why I met these two very special people. Both of them are fascinating and I am really glad that Brenden leaned over and started talking to me in the bus and they were bold enough to come and ask to stay with me.
This is what life is about – appreciating the people that come into my life and being thankful for the small gifts they give me: laughter, conversation, friendship, and ultimately making the loneliness go away.