Road Trip-ing in South Africa
By the time you are reading this, I would have had a great Easter with one of my best friends in Johannesburg, come back home from a week-long road trip, and had a whole week of classes. That’s right! I went on a road trip! I flew to Johannesburg, spent Easter there and then drove (well someone drove) all the way back down to Cape Town.
It was such a worthwhile experience! I had a great company, reasonable expenses and just enough off-screen time. The lack of connectivity made it extra hard to keep up with the blog and posting on the socials. But have no fear, I will be sharing a lot of the images I took on the road trip with you throughout the weekend on Instagram (@berniemshana) and finally post all edited photos in an album here on the blog.
However, the lack of connectivity really forced me to have reflections time. I reflected on the half semester that just happened, I reflected on my personal growth and best of all, I checked in on my dreams in life and my goals for the year. I must say, I have not had a moment to do that in a long time and I finally did.
My biggest discovery from the reflection was that I miss home. Not the usual I miss my family and I want to go see them for a minute kind of I miss home; a deep sense of longing for home. I have always known that I want to settle back in Tanzania when I finish my education yet, now more than ever I realize how I need to be in Tanzania. I have come to realize the need to understand the community you want to impact but most of all, I have come to dread offering my knowledge and services to places that do not value me.
Without getting into too many details, let me just draw you a picture. I have 12 hours a week allocated for a community service internship at an NGO in Cape Town and I only spend 3 of those hours actually working. My supervisor doesn’t seem to mind me not having anything to do. As much as I enjoy the nap I take on my way there and back, I dread the time and resource wasting. Every resource I waste or that goes underutilized makes me wish I was at home. I would be much more valuable and ten times more productive and utilized. And if not, then at least I would be wasting time on my people.
I also got a chance to evaluate my growth. Girl, did I grow! It is not that I had not been growing before it is just that being here in South Africa, my coming here on an American Study abroad program and how personal the subjects I study are, have made my growth a lot more conscious. So, I am consciously growing. I am hyper-aware of the space I occupy, I am discovering my personal privilege, I am uncovering my own coloniality and being forced to decolonize and most of all, I am facing my insecurities and getting comfortable in my own skin. It’s an emotionally and mentally tasking journey but a very necessary one.