A girl. A journey. A new start.
In my second blog, ‘First Encounters’, among other things, I spoke about how India with all its beauty and the great lessons it lends, also has the ability to break your heart.
If you have ever been to India, Thailand or the Cape Town taxi rank, you basically have an idea of what those markets/stalls look like. For those of you living in Joburg and Cape Town, this is not like our fancy Neighborgoods or Arts on Main.
On one of our many walks going to the beach, restaurant, supermarket, visiting friends, etc., we stopped at one of the stalls because Sips needed to purchase a bag. We were greeted by the sweetest 14 year old boy. His English was hardly understandable, but as he was helping Sips out, I started asking him some questions.
I asked him if it was school holidays and he said no. I then asked him why he was not at school. He casually told me that there was no money, he had to stop going to school and that instead, he comes to the stall everyday to help his Dad. Just like that. One day he woke up and he could no longer be afforded an education. He was so well-mannered and had a smile that could warm the hearts of millions. Everyday when we walked past there, I made it a point to go and have a chat with him. It warmed my heart how despite his circumstances, he always wore a smile on his face and always, without fail, greeted with a warm and firm handshake.
Very soon Sips, our friends and eventually I started referring to him as ‘my child’. Despite everything that his life was from my eyes, he always found a reason to smile and be happy. Something we don’t try very hard to do, simply because the easiest and most convenient thing to do is complain and wallow in our misery. In the same way it broke my heart to see him in his circumstances, he taught be the great lesson of finding things to smile about, no matter what.
It has been weeks since I left Goa and as I move on through my journey, I have not stopped thinking about this kid. Not once. All I wish and hope for is that one day soon, I will be able to help change his world. And if not me, someone else. Even God himself.
Very often we don’t really appreciate the depth of what our parents or elders have afforded us. Things as basic as a good education, being able to travel, eat out when we want to and to live the lives we choose for ourselves – things that most of us take for granted.
This child opened up my eyes and definitely my heart. I suddenly realized how extremely lucky I have been and still am. Now I wake up everyday….and actually have a lot of random moments a day….where this loud thought pops into my head and it shouts out loud, ‘YOU ARE SO LUCKY and BLESSED!’. And for the first time I know it, I believe it and I live it.
So it is with that, that I would like to dedicate this post to my mother, Audrey Montshiwa. For always being a great and understanding parent, and mostly for making sure that she afforded us not just a great education but also a life where my sisters and I get to choose our paths – something we always thought of as a basic human right and not necessarily a privilege. Thank you Mama.