On Friday mornings I work with a group of boys who have been through more than most people endure in a lifetime. Sometimes they share a lot. Other times they're quiet. Today they were angry and arrogant. And I understand. Some days are like that on the road to healing.
I also spent time with my friend. Her husband died yesterday. I just sat and let her cry. Words are so empty at times like these. I played with her seven-year-old son and gave him a break from the grieving while giving her a break from having to be "mom" for a few minutes. There wasn't anything else I could do.
Africa is teaching me to enter into people's suffering, share their journeys, and get "dirty" with life. I think my Western upbringing taught me to fear that - to shy away from pain and grief and suffering. My culture tends to medicate sorrow with food, entertainment or music to avoid the feelings that come when it is quiet and all distractions are removed. Here in Africa, however, you sit in the silence while a lifetime of feelings echoes loudly in your mind, bounces across the walls of the room and stampedes out the window into the veld like a herd of wildebeest. And you weep.