By Jana Vandenwyngaerden, Nursing Student, KdG

Molo! Is Xhosa for ‘Hello’. This is one of the many things I have learned this week. Though my Xhosa is still a little bit rusty (loool liar liar pants on fire) I had a very exciting and renewing week in South-Africa.

We started our week at Ithemba Lobomi. Ithemba Lobomi is an organisation with multiple CEO’s who work in Thembaletu. Thembaletu is a community that enclosures 9 zones where A LOT of people live in. It’s also referred to as a ‘Township’, Something that will sound familiar to a lot of you. The things I saw this week were so touching that I can’t even describe them on paper. I always block my emotions away because I know that otherwise, I will just take it home. Call me a little bit hypocrite because I only want to see the beautiful things in life but I just find it hard to see all the suffering and not be able to change it. The people of Ithemba Lobomi really try and do their best but the circumstances in Thembaletu are so bad that they often just don’t find the people they want to help. They have moved away, don’t want to be helped or they are not home. Though the people live in different circumstances than we do in Belgium, they are MUCH more nicer and much more opener than people in Belgium. I felt really welcome and though we couldn’t really understand each other because of the language barrier it didn’t feel awkward at all.

A different side of the story is my personal life in South Africa this week. I already wrote last week that I was starting to miss my friends a lot and this only got worse during this week. I felt really tensed and really emotional and couldn’t really place all this. I didn’t know where it was coming from because in general, I’m really happy in South- Africa and I really love the country and the people here. I was really touchy and overreacted a lot. This part put me in a very negative circle and I started to feel really bad in our group at the residence. I didn’t really want to do anything anymore and overthought every little thing. At this point, I realised I really needed my friends to be here and I realise every day more and more how lucky I am with my friends at home. When I left Belgium I was really scared that they would just forget about me but even now when I’m 9000 km’s away, they are still here for me every day and they still try to find time to call me and talk to me. I miss them so much and I really hoped some of them could come over and just do all the fun things with me but none of us are rich bastards hehe so no vacation for us.
But a BIG BIG BIG shoutout to my friends for being the most awesome people alive and staying with me at all times even though they know that I’m sometimes a pain in the ass. I seriously love you guys and I can’t wait to give you all a hug and start crying some Belgian tears again. (also: fix me some gin please, you will know who I’m talking to)
Now at this point in my week, I’m still not feeling a 100% myself. I’m quieter and reserved and I think about everything before I say it (people who know me, know that I normally just blurt everything out hahaha no regrets no sorry’s). I’m still scared to be myself again and I still don’t know why but I’m sure this feeling will go away in time. It’s just a period I need to cross.  Our teachers warned us in advance that it could become difficult at times so I think I’m in that place right now.

There aren’t only bad things this week. I also did a lot of fun stuff!I went hiking to the Kingfisher trail (the full FOUR KILOMETER GUYS hahaha shit and I was scared it would be like table mountain again lololol drama queen) afterwards I enjoyed a really nice sunset with Max and two other people who are staying in George. It was very calming and satisfying to just sit there and enjoy. On Sunday we wanted to do a braai at Buffelsbaai but our organising skills were a little bit off hahaha but we didn’t mind because we saw (again) the most beautiful sunset EVER (thank you, South Africa). And then of course I ate a lot of stuff again: Sushi yaaaazzzz, burgers and spring rolls with the hiking group, the best pasta dish made by Terri AND a gin tasting written on my body whooooooo
Well, this was a less fun blog than the blogs before but a fact is that everything can look good in a picture but in real life it’s still a bumpy road you have to cross. I can just call myself lucky to be surrounded by some lovely people and go through this experience. 

Follow Jana’s adventures on her Blog

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