There’s nothing as frustrating to me as something left undone, and while I’ve written various other things about Kayamandi for class or the honors college, this blog has haunted the back of my mind. Reading back over the posts on here, I recognize a tendency I have that also spills into my journaling: I record the rough or big stuff and enjoy the good, letting it pass without note. Also, finding internet was a headache of a mission, while I was there, so while my record here is sparse, I have a journal full of what happened on the daily.

I’ll spare you the gross details, and I’ll go ahead and promise a much more upbeat post later… however, for now, I just need to blab.

Cue the music. Cue the fanfare. Ladies and gentlemen…. Welcome to our last week working on our projects! And how did I spend the first half of it???

Getting real close and personal with my bed, a trash can, and the toilet. The Traveller’s Diarrhea train blew through the Mama Zulu household and hit me (and only me) hard. I’d heard of getting those quick, cold sweats when you’re puking, but I’d never felt…

Last week, things kind of fell apart with our project at the Gallery. There were a lot of things that eventually came to a head that ended with us having to move on. At the end of all of this, I’ll sit down and break down what I think happened, but for now, looking ahead and being content with the fact that we made those connections with the guys at the gallery and with the kids… well, that’s just got to be enough. Projects work or they don’t, but dammit if we don’t try our hardest to do some good.

Last night I dreamed about my mom picking me up from the airport. It was one of those dreams that felt especially real. I got to see Dad and Jake, and we were even in our old van that we didn’t have anymore. Then it became a lot more complicated in the way dreams do and I woke up, but that part, going home and seeing my family, that still felt real. So, waking up in my bed, wearing four layers of clothes under the mouse onesie I bought last week and still being cold… yeah, that sucked. Then, I…

As I promised before, I’ll start with an observation. This one’s sad, though.

The girls and I have seen a few things here that have made our stomachs hurt. They’re things that happen everywhere that poverty and violence exist. Homeless children outside the posh stores; starving, fighting dogs that snarl all night long; a man wrestling a woman off to the side of a dirt path, and we walk away unsure if it’s a real confrontation or they’re just messing around. The only thing we’re sure of is that we heard her crying. Then when those things become disturbingly normal…

So I’m starting to recognize the dogs. (I want to start these with an observation, if you don’t mind.) They’re everywhere. Some are fed and act as mildly tamed guard dogs. You can tell they have their territory. Most of the locals avoid them. I’ve yet to see anyone pet them besides Alessa, the German girl who lives with us at Mama Zulu’s. She feeds the two outside Ekhaya treats, so they’re in love with her. One almost took out this guy the other day when he walked too close to her. She’s definitely an ally I’m working on gaining.

For the first week, I’m allowed at least one long post. If you don’t read it all, I won’t blame you, but I’ve got a lot to lay out. And yeah, technically, I just finished week two, but I’m behind since wifi has been so hard to figure out, so I’ll eventually catch up.

I’m still not sure how I did it, but I was absolutely dead to the world for the entire 12-hour flight from London to Cape Town. I remember waking up for breakfast, and I quickly curled up in one of those godforsaken seats and passed out…

I think a professor of mine might be proud of that headline. Or not. Anyway, for this, we’ll go in order.

I was supposed to take off from Monroe at 6 p.m. and land at DFW at 7:30 or so, plenty of time left to catch the flight to London at 10 p.m.

Well, the plane didn’t even reach Monroe until 8:30. We got in at 10.

Dad got this photo of me after I went through security. If I’d only known how appropriate this would be…

Look at all that hope in that fake terror.

As soon as we landed, I messaged Sammy, Ellie, and Paulina. They were…

Hi everyone! Currently, it’s Wednesday and I’m sitting in Ruston, Louisiana. Tomorrow, I’ll be hopping on a plane, and two-ish days after that, I’ll be walking off of one in Cape Town, South Africa. This record is for those of you that care to keep up with what I’m up to. It also allows me to avoid spamming Facebook with all my excited blurbs.

Guys, I’m so excited.

But let me catch you up.

A shot of the Kayamandi Township from

This is Kayamandi.

Darby Goes

Writer, traveler, and volunteer based in Atlanta, GA.

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