Reposted from 8/3 eQuilter newsletter:
So I have come back from South Africa, and checked off "Africa" on my Bucket List. I've been trying to figure out how to put the experience into words, and in the process found this page of quotes. The one that really jumped out at me was Tom Hiddleston's: "I feel as though the cardboard box of my own reality has been flattened and blown open. Now I can see the edge of the world."
I've seen poverty up close before. I've been in places where I've stood on the borderline between safety and extreme danger. I've seen orphans and sick starving kids before. I've walked through plenty of slums and shantytowns, though certainly not all, because there are some where you are taking a chance with your life by being there even for a few minutes...the favelas of Rio, for instance.
I never thought for a moment that I really knew about the depth of suffering during Apartheid. Now, after seeing the townships and spending a couple hours at the Apartheid Museum, I feel like I have a very small grasp on the enormity of what happened in South Africa, and how Apartheid continues to restrain the indigenous people of this land.
A highlight of the trip was my visit to one of the Clover Mama Afrika centers, to photograph and visit with the children and caretakers. The center is on a hill overlooking the shantytown, and the children in their sharp blue and white uniforms are in sharp contrast to the impoverished existence they lead below. I was invited to speak to the older kids (15-18 yr olds) and one of the things I told them about was the International Space Station, and how to spot it in the night sky just after sunset. To see their faces full of wonder and disbelief and inspiration as I told them this story, was something I will never forget. The circle that they held for my storytelling was a magical experience for me as well.
My heart was filled to bursting with so many intense feelings on this trip, including the joy of traveling with the Women of Color Quilters Network, and seeing their tribute to Nelson Mandela at the quilt convention in Johannesburg. I have posted about 75 photos from this exhibition on my photo page, and we will have the companion show catalog in the next few weeks. I hand carried a few copies so when I find out the correct price, I will put those online. Drop an email to customer service if you want to be notified when those first few copies go online.
I will continue to edit and post photos on my photostream over the weekend.