A year ago or so, I painted this picture.  A series of them, actually.  All low mountains, deep colors, lots of golden light.

And now I see this scene painted in front of me, full size, earth and sky, every day.  Like Bert and Mary Poppins, I’ve somehow jumped into the middle of that canvas, and now I live here.

I drive past warthog, impala, zebra, giraffe and wildebeest on my way to the petrol station. Or into town.  Every single morning.  And more and more, I drive high on the ridge, bumping along and waving to the members of the community which is quickly becoming a place I feel incredibly at home.

I sit in traditional mud houses and babble at gogos in an odd mix of English, my baby Zulu and a whole lot of hand gestures and smiles.  And funnily enough, we understand each other.

I listen a lot.  To young men who want to improve their lives and those of their families, who know that they have a lot to offer but just don’t know how to offer it.  To old men who hold the secrets to a brave and beautiful culture, afraid it may be forgotten and wanting to teach the young to both revere and preserve that treasure.  To women who are bright and beautiful and so very strong, who ask for so little and give so much.  To children, too – though mostly I watch their shiny eyes and huge smiles and shy offers of hands to hold.

And I speak.  To whoever will listen, about how much good there is in this remote place, about what I see in them, about how much potential there is here.  I speak English, and enough Zulu that they know I am trying, and we laugh a lot.  We hope and we dream and they explain and I explain and then we sit back and are amazed at how very much we have in common.  And how simple it is to see the best in each other, and to move forward from there.

More than anything, though, I wonder how I can possibly convey the magic of this place.  How I can explain this feeling of being so full and so on fire and so at peace, all at once?  At the joy of finding where I belong, quite some time after arriving on the planet, and that even that long wait was worth it for this.  And the incredible connections with such extraordinary souls.

I am, above everything, grateful.  And glad.  And so very happy to be here.


(This, for my friends who have asked, is why I haven’t been posting much.  Not because nothing is happening, but because everything is happening.)





12 Comments on “everything

  1. Good to hear from you! Love your pictures of your everyday. Much Love, Naomi xoxo

  2. I think you explained it all beautifully, Christa. I can feel the power of your emotions. And I am following your posts very closely because I have recently come to the conclusion that I too may belong in South Africa. And I am no spring chicken. But it’s never too late to take the journey home, is it?

  3. It must be a wonderful place to be…a place without “things.” So freeing. And the people, so happy, without “things.” I can only imagine.

  4. Oh my darling this is just absolutely achingly beautiful. You have expressed it so eloquently. I love that you manifested this place through your paintings. That too seems ridiculously appropriate. Can’t wait to hear more. Oh, and do some more paintings please. xxx 🙂

  5. I think of you often, and where you are, and what that life must look like. But mostly? I think of how important it is to have someone from ‘outside’ – someone who’s had ‘privilege’ living in the Western World – who can still look all of these beautiful people in their faces and by your actions say to them, “You, your culture, how you live, your memories, your lives – they matter. Today and always.”

    Maybe I’m being one of those optimistic do-gooders as I think on these faces, looking back into yours, but it seems to me that in such a large world, where technology is advancing, and so many people count technology as “moving forward” to have your face letting all of these people know that their way of Life is still important in this growing, changing world – this to me seems like a very big anchor in our world. And I am so grateful that you can be there in the capacity you are. I hope this all makes sense, as I am writing from my heart, and it feels so much larger than words.

    • Isn’t it wild, Jena, how this all came to be? Thanks for walking through it with me. XOXO

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