Hello World! Sorry for my lateness in writing this blog post as well, but Life has been happening down in South Africa. I have been far more interested in experiencing life here than sitting at a computer screen; I know that scared the American in me too. My life has been very eventful this past month. I ate the innards of a chicken, I almost made a Grade R (Kindergarten) cry (Note: it was my second week in South Africa and no one told me the isiXhosa word for bathroom (Not the proudest moment of my life)), I preached at a Sunday service, I met some absolutely amazing people ranging from the ages of 5 to 75, and the most powerful experience I had in my first month was the Heritage Day celebration at Holy Cross School on September 24th.
I tried for days to write a blog post about Heritage Day, but I could not textualize my experience. The words I used in my last four attempts to write a blog post all failed to meet the energy and emotions of this amazing cultural experience.
At first, I thought the whole day would be ruined by the heavy rain and the cold wind. We were supposed to be celebrating outside, all the guests sprawled out around the playground of the school watching the acts and cooking on the many bonfires. Instead of that lovely day, we received a cold rainy day. We all had to be inside crammed into a small library; we barely had room to move after we found our places to sit. What really shocked me was that no else really seemed to care. They just accepted the blessing of rain as fact and did not let it ruin their day.
As the acts started, you could feel this immediate connection with everyone in the room. We were all connected through the beats of the drum, the shouts of joy, the harmonies of the voices singing, and the excitement and joy we all shared in that small room. No cared about having no leg room, no cared about sitting on the cold floor, and no cared that the weather was bad.
As the festivities came to a close, I looked outside and saw that the rain had cleared, the sun was out, and there was not a cloud left in the sky. I pointed this out to Kary (the principal of the school), and she told me something really profound and it fit perfectly for the events of that day. She told me that the Xhosa people and most people in South Africa see rain as blessing from God. South Africans believe that receiving rain for weddings, funerals, tribal celebrations and any other important holiday or celebration is a very good thing. As I contemplated that culture difference, I could see how we were all blessed that day. If the weather had been perfect, I doubt all the guests would feel that awesome connection with everyone; we would be too spread out to share our emotions. The whole day would have had a different feeling to it, and probably would not be nearly as awesome too. I truly hope and pray that all my friends--especially my missionary friends--can experience an event such as this. God truly blessed me with this experience and it literally is one of the best experiences of my life.