It's been three weeks since I returned from Africa and I don't think there's been a day that's gone by since in which my heart hasn't thought about that place, the people, the culture. It weighs on me, certainly, but more so I miss the community, the love, the hope in the midst of struggle that exists there. In many ways I found a home in a place I never expected to find it.
It's curious, really, how quickly a place becomes a home for us. One minute your in a whole new land, both scared of the mysterious nature of the unknown, and enrapture with this since of adventure. Next thing you know something deep within you awakens, and all that once seemed to hold you back is gone. You're bolder, more out going. You smile at strangers you never would have before. You say words like "mulishani", and walk down roads and paths you never dreamed you'd see. Before you know it, you've rediscovered what it means to be "home".
Home is the sense of being completely content with the world as it is around you. It doesn't necessarily mean peace, it doesn't necessarily mean security. No, home is the understanding that you are not alone. The world around you can literally be collapsing and yet, home is the place where you know someone is there to walk alongside you through the brokenness. Home is "mulishani".
In my short few days there in Africa, on the outskirts of a city larger than my current place of residence, but one I had never heard of, I found home. I was welcomed into a community, a culture, and made to feel as if no matter how dark the world was around me, I would not be alone. I am not certain there will ever be a place such as this that I will find again. A place where hope sprung a new every morning, and every evening we celebrated the blessings we had in the midst of adversity.
.I've been back now for three weeks. Not a day goes by that I don't think of this place that I once explored and fell in love with. Working on this story has been such a journey, such a renewal of purpose. One thing has become clear to me, however; I came back, but I am now a long way from Home.
Photo credit to the amazing Spencer Penfield Photography