For those of you who have been following my story and feel abandoned, left stranded in the world of silence and the blogless abyss you would be correct. I want you to know that your feelings are valid and that I have indeed left you in the dark. Apologies to all.
To help provide clarity, I wanted to share with you my process for writing, and how the story usually comes together. I typically find an incident, moment or experience that once it occurs, I find myself piecing together the words I want to use to describe that in a blog. That is my first indicator that it is time to write again.
For each post, I try to write it in one sitting. Once I break or step away, the freshness and reality of the scenario gets lost in the sea of continuous days here in Peace Corps. Because of this, I have at any given time on my computer a dozen half written blogs, pages and pages of stories, experiences, emotions and encounters that lie waiting for my return to finish. Sadly, I rarely return back to the work, as a new blog has emerged and I skip ahead to work on that.
When I am able to finish a blog, I post right away. And as I know that I rarely return to half written blogs, the logical next questions is why not just finish each one right when I begin it? And while that is always my intention, the unfortunate reality is that life gets in the way. Some days I sit on a mat outside the door of Ole Pinkie, and can write until some of the neighbor kids come by asking to play a game. When I find myself in the city I seek out a quiet cafe with a small corner table to settle into the work, but get pulled away by the lure of volunteers I haven’t seen in months who are also in the city.
The question then becomes, what do I do to ensure I can keep my blog alive and well? Do I just post the half baked half written stories, giving you all a glimpse into the story but falling short of the conclusions? Do I practice stream of consciousness writing and provide you with every chaotic, unpolished thought that passes through my ever pivoting mind? Or do I endeavor to complete each work as they come, and tell life that it will just have to wait until I manage to get the words on the page?
I don’t yet have an answer to that questions, but I do have an update for you. My update, or rather more of a promise, is that in the past year of writing I have filled you in on many things about my life and experiences, but I have also been leaving out some of the more difficult experiences and realities of life here.
Many of my colleagues, myself included, have developed a mental barrier for ourselves, where we have had to adjust the threshold of “caring” in terms of the view we have on the world here. In order to not drive myself insane, or find myself in tears constantly, I have built metal boxes where I choose to lock away some of the heartbreaking realities that we see on a daily basis. My second group of visitors, my parents, have come and gone from South Africa, and one glaring similarity between their reaction and my sisters reaction when she came has forced me to acknowledge and seek to explain the hardships some citizens of SA experience. The ever tangible remnants of Apartheid regime, the continued economic oppression of groups of people and the blatant racism that runs free in this beautiful land is a painful thing to view and process as a traveler. It was the same for me when I first arrived. I remember feeling rage, feeling heartbroken, feeling sad and feeling inspired by the trials and triumphs of people here. And I no longer will be keeping these feelings in the box.
I am not sure what exactly will come next. I don’t know if I will go back and finish some old posts, or if I will publish them in their current state. One thing I do know, however, is that a few things are going to change. I am going to push myself to express and expose some of the issues that are going on here. I am going to talk to you openly about the horrid situations that young women in particular face. I am going to discuss “dinner table forbidden” topics that make us cringe, because to not is to do a disservice to you, to myself, and to the wonderful people I have had the pleasure of sharing my life with this past year.
Thank you for your continued reading and support, and please feel free to engage in a dialogue below if you have any questions, comments, or are looking for additional information on anything that I post.