It all started this morning... with a cup of coffee and some cloudy weather.
I was suddenly blessed with an overcast morning to go and transplant the last of my seedlings to my garden. Thankful to not be working in extreme heat, I removed my beloved seedlings from inside my house and prepared to uproot them and put them in an entirely new environment. For weeks, I've nursed seeds (both inside and outside) in an attempt to start a garden for my family next door. Each member of the family has helped clear the yard, prepare the soil, build shade, and water the small seeds. Even the tiniest of humans have carried cans full of water with both hands, only to beam the brightest of smiles when a few successful drops of water reached the seedlings. A garden is a lot of work. Especially out here in the desert.
So as I'm transplanting the last of the seedlings today, I sat back in wonder of how remarkable plants really are. I physically pulled these plants up out of the comfortable, happy environment it once had and moved it to a much more hostile environment. So frail, so vulnerable, and yet so strong. Tiny, tiny roots grow into big, strong roots. Despite being uprooted, they will get a grip again, keep growing, and fight to keep the plant grounded. As I looked at these tiny roots, I smiled to myself, and gave thanks for my own ability to uproot myself and carry on. My soul rejoiced. Those tiny little plants... that was a me.
And here I am, less than two years later, with my roots fully intact. After removing myself from all the material comforts and precious relationships in my life, I was vulnerable. I was showing my roots. I desperately needed some sun, water, and time.
* * * * *
I made the decision to stay in my village over Christmas and New Years this year. It's a decision some other volunteers don't quite seem to understand. Although I value my friendship with other volunteers, my heart longs to be home for the holidays. And now, at this stage of my life, Kang is home. Somewhere along the way, I've received enough love and nourishment to allow me to put my roots down here. I've been accepted into the lives of another family. I've witnessed the first steps of the kiddos. I've heard them say my name for the first time. I've had the granny call me her daughter. I've watched several family members cry at the thought of me going home in June. I've celebrated birthdays, cried at deaths, and laughed at life with them by my side.
* * * * *
This family has provided the proper environment for me to grow. Each one of these people have given me the strength to put my roots down. They are the reason I'm so grounded here. And the reason it's going to be so painful to uproot myself again.
Setting down my roots here has opened my heart, challenged me to love harder, and allowed me to grow. While I'm here, I will soak up every last bit of love, laughter, and friendship I possibly can to help me with my next chapter in life. And so, here I am... HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. Home to hug the kiddos, make Christmas cookies, play in the yard, cook together, and spend time as a family.
Merry Christmas from Botswana, everyone.
Love & Light,